The NHL may be in the midst of a lockout, but the Roberto Luongo rumors float on.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently reported Roberto Luongo had come to the realization his hopes of returning to the Florida Panthers were growing slim, and there weren’t many trade options open to him before the lockout.
“Toronto has already made a solid offer for Luongo, and when asked about a deal to the Leafs, GM Mike Gillis said there were several assets the Buds have which can get it done.
Gillis was also asked recently about his relationship with Burke, and said they get along “well enough” to pull the trigger on this thing.”
Botchford wondered, however, how keen Luongo would be to go to a dysfunctional club like the Maple Leafs. He also claimed a “mystery team” or two may have entered the Luongo sweepstakes prior to the lockout, and speculated the Edmonton Oilers may have been one of them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While I’ll admit anything is possible, I don’t see the Canucks moving Luongo to a division rival, or that he’d agree to be dealt to Edmonton. I also have strong doubts he’d want to go to the Maple Leafs, though it must be remembered Dave Nonis, the GM who brought Luongo to Vancouver, is now assistant GM in Toronto, so he might be able to sell Luongo on the Leafs, though at this point, that could prove a tough sell.
What I will suggest, however, is that a season-killing lockout could result in more trade options for the Canucks regarding Luongo when a new CBA is implemented. If this season is salvaged, the Panthers are willing to start this season with Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, but if they get off to a poor start, jeopardizing the momentum they built up by making the playoffs last season, it could make them amenable to a Luongo trade.