From the latest on Roberto Luongo, to what plans Red Wings management have in store for their club this summer. It’s all here in today’s Sunday rumor roundup. Enjoy!
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jim Jamieson reports Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo is ignoring the rumor mill, remaining focused on being a good team player. Backup Cory Schneider has supplanted Luongo as the Canucks starting goalie in their series against the LA Kings, giving rise to speculation he, not Schneider, could be dealt this summer.
TAMPABAY.COM: Damian Cristodero jokingly scolds the Canucks for creating this goalie controversy. “ Didn’t Vancouver’s coaches know the Lightning was casting a covetous eye at goaltender Cory Schneider? Didn’t they know Schneider was going to solve all the Lightning’s problems?”, writes Cristodero, who does a comparison of the goalies potentially available to the Lightning – including Luongo – and what it would cost to land them.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks dismisses the notion of the Toronto Maple Leafs acquiring Luongo, pointing out Leafs GM Brian Burke’s public objection to heavily front-loaded, long-term deals like Luongo’s.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We won’t know for certain what the Canucks will do vis their goaltenders until mid-June at the earliest, once the playoffs are over and the entry draft weekend approaches. Until then, expect Luongo to be linked to the other 29 NHL teams in trade rumors.
As for some of the places he’s been linked to, Braden Holtby’s performance ensures Washington isn’t a destination. I really don’t believe the Lightning would have interest, unless they can convince Vincent Lecavalier to waive his movement clause and agree to a trade to Vancouver, which I don’t see happening. Can’t see Luongo going to the Oilers, as they’re a division rival, and have indicated they’ll come back with Devan Dubnyk and Nikolai Khabibulin next summer. The Columbus Blue Jackets would be intrigued, but would Luongo agree to go to Columbus?
Forget about the Florida Panthers, especially if Jose Theodore carries them to playoff victory over the Devils. Speaking of the Devils, they might be interested if Martin Brodeur retires, but again, would Luongo want to go there? Perhaps the San Jose Sharks might consider a shakeup in goal? Chicago? Nah, don’t see that, unless they move out one of their high-salaried stars first. The Islanders? Never mind. The Flyers? Not unless they can dump the overpaid Ilya Bryzgalov.
As we can see, easier said than done to find potential destinations for Luongo if he were to be shopped this summer. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t be dealt, just saying it’s not going to be easy, and the odds seem against such a move this summer. Unless there’s an amnesty buyout period in the next CBA, Luongo could still be with the Canucks next season.
DETROIT NEWS/DETROIT FREE PRESS/MLIVE.COM: all report Red Wings management are expected to make significant moves in the off-season to improve their roster, which could see them target potential UFAs Zach Parise and Ryan Suter if they become available on July 1st. Team captain Nicklas Lidstrom, the subject of retirement speculation, said he’ll take a few weeks off, then meet with management to discuss his future plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Red Wings to be among the favorites to land Parise and/or Suter if they are available on July 1st. They have the cap space, plus a winning reputation which also makes them a desirable destination for top free agent talent.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson also weighed in on the Luongo trade speculation, listing Tampa Bay, Toronto, Columbus, Florida and Chicago as possible destinations…Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo’s unhappy over his lack of playing time in this year’s playoffs, while forward Colin Wilson’s been a healthy scratch and could become prime trade bait this summer…Brad Stuart’s played his final game as a Red Wings, as he’s expected to sign with a California-based team to be closer to his family in San Jose…Matheson suspects the Capitals will let Tomas Vokoun walk via free agency, and wonders if the LA Kings would be interested in him as a replacement for current backup Jonathan Bernier, who’s expected to be dealt this summer…He also wondered if Bruins goalie Tim Thomas might be available if the Bruins fall in round one and decide they don’t want to pay for his final season …Matheson also considers Josh Harding’s stock as a free agent “middling” because of his injury history.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve already touched on potential destinations for Luongo…Tootoo might also find himself on the trade block if he continues to see limited action this spring. I’ll be surprised if Wilson isn’t shopped this summer…Stuart is singing, “California, here I come, right back where I started from”…Of course the Capitals will let Vokoun walk, as they’ll go with Holtby and Michal Neuvirth as their tandem, just as they should’ve in the first place! As for the Kings, let’s wait and see what they do with Bernier first. There’s a chance they could decide to hang onto him…Thomas’ “no-trade” clause expires on July 1st, and Tuukka Rask is, as Matheson noted, waiting in the wings. Don’t be surprised if the Bruins field offers…Harding’s stock may be “middling” now, but it’ll improve this summer if teams in need of goaltending depth can’t find what they’re looking for via trades or free agency.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently reported Sabres GM Darcy Regier sees Ryan Miller returning in the club’s crease next season. “Regier remains high on restricted free-agent forwards Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta and would like unrestricted defenseman Alexander Sulzer to return”, reports Vogl. Regier also has two picks in the first and second rounds, and he claims to be “very open on using and/or moving the pick or picks”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on the status of Derek Roy or Drew Stafford, who were often mentioned in Sabres trade rumors this past season. At least we know for certain Miller won’t be moved.