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Make your best offer to get Luongo…

It's likely that very few Leaf fans believe the club is not at least trying to upgrade at the goaltending position.  That doesn't mean they will do something before the season starts, but they are talking trade, no doubt.  One name that keeps popping up is that of Jonathan Bernier, the young LA King goalie who remains more of a promising "prospect" than a proven NHL netminder.   He has supposedly been made available to a number of teams looking to get better in goal, but LA has apparently not been offered enough yet to let him go. (They no doubt have to determine when the 'peak' time is to move him.  If they wait much longer, will Bernier still be considered "can't miss?  Or will he eventually be perceived as just another unproven back-up?)

Are the Leafs one of those teams interested in Bernier?  I guess we'll find out.

Meanwhile, “rumours” (aren't they life-savers for information-starved fans?) persist that Roberto Luongo is still in play when it comes to the Maple Leafs.   Now that's a big name.  We know he eventually has to go somewhere.  And while I still think the best “hockey” fit for him would be Chicago, that may not be his—or Vancouver’s—first choice.

Regardless, it has to happen at some point.  We know the Canucks, as I’ve opined here before, could play the waiting game.  They could hold on to Luongo until next season’s trade deadline (or a little before that), to see who is “desperate” out there and may be willing to part with more key assets than they would by making the move this summer.  Of course, the risk in that approach is that Luongo’s presence would potentially create, at the very least, some discomfort in the Canuck dressing room.  Even if he acts the ‘team guy’ to the best of his ability, his teammates will know he doesn’t really want to be there, and they will also know the organization wants him gone.  At some point that has to be unhealthy, one would suspect.

And what would happen if, say, Schneider was injured, or played poorly? In comes Roberto, and let's assume his play is outstanding.  Do they still trade him?  Is there an inevitable goaltending controversy?  Do Canuck fans re-embrace him?

No, I think Luongo will be moved this summer, because the brass in Vancouver does not want to face the above scenarios.  They would prefer to live and die with Schneider as their number-one for better or worse, with no turning back, rather than face the prospect of a divided or unhappy dressing room—even if only for part of the 2012-’13 NHL season. 

Still, all this said, Gillis needs to get something in return, right?  Some have posted here and suggested that teams, including the Leafs, should not and will not send a whole lot to Vancouver, because Luongo has that long-term contract and Vancouver is not in a position of trading strength on this one.

While I absolutely understand that perspective, my view remains that Gillis needs and wants to make a “hockey trade”- not a cap-clearing deal alone.  Nor does he simply want to take a bad contract back, just to rid himself of Luongo.  Gillis has to live in Vancouver, and will also have to live with the aftermath of his trade of the franchise goaltender.  If he gets less than “full” hockey value, what will Canuck fans say?  How will it impact Gillis’ security as GM?  People will talk about this trade for years to come- especially if Schneider struggles and Luongo goes on to play really well.

So here we sit.  It’s mid-July.  Luongo is still a Canuck.  The Leafs, despite their brave public bravado that they are happy to go into the new season with Reimer and Scrivens, don't have a whole lot of other options, it would seem.  There is likely a lot of competition for Bernier- and does he really fit the job description of an experienced netminder?  Would they really suddenly be willing to part with what would likely be required (high-end prospects or good NHL'ers) to obtain him?

I have to believe that the Leafs would dearly love to have an All-Star to tend the net while Reimer and Scrivens (or whomever is next in line in their mind) continue to develop.  Could that guy be Luongo? (I posted recently that it might take a three-way deal for the Leafs to get their hands on Luongo.  Of course, I've also been thinking that since old-time Leaf great Johnny Bower will be at the Alumni game against the Red Wing legends, maybe we could keep him on our radar as well...)

Those who visit here know I’m not a Luongo guy (a tremendous goalie, I acknowledge), for reasons I’ve detailed over the last couple of years.  But many like him a lot, and think he would be an answer for getting the Leafs at least into the playoffs in the next few seasons.

Now that we're getting to what I'm guessing is a serious point in the Luongo (and maybe Bernier) trade discussions, if you’re in the latter category (a Leaf supporter who would like to see Luongo here), what do you think it would take, in specific terms, for the Maple Leafs to lure the veteran keeper away from Gillis?  If you were in Burke’s shoes, what would you give up?  Precious little?  A lot?

Realistically, who might, in your opinion, the Leafs actually offer?  Maybe we can break the stalemate here on VLM.  Someone has to blink first in the Luongo sweepstakes—the Canucks or whatever team they ultimately trade him to.

Your thoughts?


  1. First of all, if Lou came here, Scrivens and Reimer are not going to be in any plans for the leafs but trade bait and a back-up. They won't be given the opportunity to prove themselves because Burkie is not going to have a 5-6 million dollar goalie, sitting on the bench as 2nd fiddle. And lets face it, if Lou struggles here, do you think anyone will take his contract off of the Leafs. And do you think Burkie will bury him in the minors. Not.
    So lets just move on to some youth. We've missed the play-offs for so long now, does it really make a difference if we miss one or two more. And in that process, we'll stock the shelves some more. So go after Bernier. Surely one of the 3 youts can lead us somewhere. (Yes "youts", just for Vinney) Go leafs Go

  2. Oh and sorry, to answer your question. If Lou is to come here, don't give up anything but maybe Komosarik or Connely. Or don't do it at all.

  3. I have to admit to being ambivalent about Luongo. It worries me that he's shown he is capable of flaking out in the playoffs even if a new environment might facilitate him showing a bit more spine in the future and I'd like to think that if we're going all in on an elite goalie we'd go for someone who is going to lead from the back come playoff time. Not sure if Luongo has it in him.

    Curiously I can't help but wonder if we'd be better served by seeing him go to Florida so that we can make a play at Theodore. While he isn't an "all in" move he would achieve a secondary purpose of being a seasoned stop gap while Reimer matures. Certainly I'd rather this than Bernier, who wouldn't just be an "all in" fail but like bluffing with hand full of nothing.

    But the questions is what would I give back for Luongo. I think you're right Gillis needs to appear to his fans that he isn't getting fleeced even if he knows he wont get the better end of the deal, so I'd appeal to his specific needs but low ball him on talent. The Canucks depth chart looks shy on Right Wings and Goalies (assuming Luongo's departure) although I know nothing about the strength of their prospect pool.

    Given the above, I'd offer Carter Ashton (RW) and whichever of Rynnas or Owuya (G) that he wants and sweeten if necessary with a 3rd rounder upgraded to a second if we make the playoffs in 2013

  4. I hear you, Anon. As I've said here many times, I'm not in favour of bringing Luongo in, but that's just me. I know a lot of Leaf fans would like to see him in blue and white!

    Thanks for posting. I'll put you in the not at all, or "don't give up much" category.....

  5. Interesting, KiwiLeaf. You're going with unproven youngster and young, unproven goalie and a draft pick. I like the "trigger" aspect of your offer i.e. if the Leafs have success with Lou, a better draft pick kicks in, (maybe even two or three years down the road?)...

  6. In addition to the reasons you listed why Vancouver needs to move Luongo, lets not forget one of the most important reasons, the salary and cap implications. It is unrealistic for any team to carry two #1 goaltenders, especially for a total of $9.3 mil a year. That equates to about 13% of the max cap. Yipes! So yes, Gillis wants and needs to move Luongo, and wants to get value in return. Unfortunately for him, Luongo's contract doesn't exactly make it a seller's market.

    Like you Michael, I don't think Luongo is a good fit in Toronto. IF Burke makes a trade to acquire him, it will create a fistful of other problems for this team. If will increase the changes of making the playoffs, but is that alone worth making the deal. Unless Burke can get Luongo at a bargain-basement trading price, I sure as hell hopes he doesn't make a deal.

    For me, I'd hate to see any prospects or draft picks passed to Vancouver, simply because those could someday parlay into a bad deal for Toronto. I'd rather see one or two players go to Vancouver that would make this deal more cap neutral for the Leafs. How about Lombardi + Ryannas (or maybe Kulemin)?

    I think Gillis is going to have to cave at some point. He's never going to make a deal for Luongo in which he comes out even or ahead.

  7. Agreed, Vancouver wants/needs to get this done. Gillis is playing poker as best he can, just as Howson is with Nash's situation in Columbus. It's always hard to move a good asset when everyone knows that player wants out!

    Kulemin could be an interesting piece in that kind of prospective deal. If he plays as he can, he would certainly be useful to the Canucks...

    Someone has to cave first!

    Thanks for posting on this one, TML__fan

  8. I think that BB needs to continue to position himself as comfortable with moving forward into the season with Reimer/Scrivens. Gillis will have to move Luongo eventually and his feigning interest, he will have to accept less than what he is looking for.

    Personally, I would not offer much. Taking the long-term contract should be enough. I'd offer Komisarek and a 3rd round pick at most. Kulemin's defense acumen is too good to move out. His two-way game is solid and he seemed to have no luck last season. He works hard day-in and day-out, which is a shining example to other up-and-comers in the Leafs organization.

  9. Well said, Anon. I too believe there is quite a bit of posturing going on on all sides, regarding both Luongo and Nash...

  10. I am not in favor of going after Luongo. I am sick and tired seeing seeing the Leafs give up draft choices and top prospects for percieved short term gain. If they had hung on to Rask we wouldn't be having this debate.

    The Leafs have not developed a home grown goaltender since Felix Potvin. They now have the opportunity with two very good ones in Reimer and Scrivens who I believe will do very well under Carlyle's system. Trading for Luongo would effectively put an end to their careers with the Leafs and would also cost assets (players or draft choices) that could be better utilized elsewhere. It would take guts for Burke to go with the status quo but I believe it would be the right choice.

    At the beginning of last season LA was in a similar position. They had two young unproven goaltenders. Quick was lightly regarded. Bernier was the big hope. Things turned out pretty well for them.

  11. Very well said, as always, Pete Cam. Burke may just stay the course, though I still sense he is tempted to make some kind of move in goal, if he could without giving up much. But you make a very fair point about our not developing our own goaltenders in ages....Thanks.

  12. I didn't care much for the idea of going after Luongo before, and nothing has changed since. I'd feel better about it if we were already a playoff team, then Luongo might well be a good addition. But right now, I don't believe Luongo alone would be enough to turn losers into contenders. And if you're not contending, it just doesn't make sense to take on such a heavy veteran contract.

    If we absolutely must try and go get him, I'm very much on the same mind with people here: don't give up much in return. Reimer or Scrivens would be the odd man out, so either of them going back would make sense. Canucks would also have to eat either Connolly or Komisarek's contract in return. Carter Ashton is a future piece I'm not sold on, so I might sacrifice him. Conditional draft pick? Sure, if Luongo played at least 45-50 regular season games and we made the playoffs, and even then it would be a 3rd-rounder at best.

    Would Gillis do that? Of course not, he'd lose face, big time. Besides, he's not in a rush at this point, as the new CBA is anything but done. He can wait and see if someone blinks first. Same deal as Howson is doing with Nash, try to play hardball for as long as you can. Looking from the outside, neither player commands high exchange value at this point, and while that might not change, why rush into getting lowballed? That is the final option, and it's not going anywhere.

  13. Great post, CGLN. You've described exactly, I would think, what both Howson and Gillis are attempting to do at the moment. Play hard-ball, hang in, and still try to make the best "hockey deal" that they can. To a certain extent, time is on their side, for the reasons you mention.

    I'm with you on Luongo. Not that he's not a really good goaltender. Obviously he is. But I've had reservations for a long time, and I haven't changed my perspective.

  14. Here is the deal I would offer but I'm not sure the Canucks accept. Komisarke/Ballard is the Canucks option as it frees up cap space a year sooner. And the leafs can finger Ballard to the AHL.

    Scrivens+Komisarek+Connolly +3rd
    Luongo + Ballard

  15. Thanks for chiming in on this one, leafingit....Like you, I doubt Gillis would go there at this point. He must still be wanting to make a "hockey deal", not so much a cap trade.

  16. Luongo is a good goalie but still isn't worth his contract. That contract would be a burden on the Leaf management for many years to come.
    Whatever team gets him, their GM will eventually have to bury an all-star and possible hall-of-famer (and his contract) in the minors.
    If I was Burke, I wouldn't take him for free! Maybe, if Vancouver threw in Zack Kassian, I'd take Luongo off their hands and call it even.

  17. Thanks Anon- your last line made me smile. (And yes, I'd take Kassian...)

  18. what are guys inhaling in the big smoke??????

    You don't have to worry about Lu, he won't be going to TARANA and you won't be making the playoffs again. Say bye bye Burkie!

  19. Preds had to throw in Franson to get rid of Lomabrdi's contract. I've seen a few other trades like that since the lockout. This isn't a hockey trade. If Luongo was signed for 3yrs it would already be done. I can't decide if I even want him at all with that contract, I do know that we need a goalie and a centre in the worst way. I would trade for Luongo and offer one of our goalies, Komi/Lomardi/Connoly, and a kid off the Marlies like Blacker or some other 2nd tier prospect that is close to cracking the NHL lineup. T.O. would be taking most of the risk for the next decade, taking a headache (a good headache)that could affect the line up and cap for the next few years. We are just now getting out from some bad signings from the last decade and I don't want to see us starting another era of no cap room that affects our ability to be flexible.

  20. I agree kennyfloyd that if Luongo was a UFA or on a shorter-term deal, a number of teams would surely be interested.

    I don't doubt a few teams are even now, but have the concerns you cite.

    As you mention, the Leafs, like most teams, will need financial flexibility down the road. We can be sure the Leaf brass is well aware of that in their discussions around Luongo...

    Good stuff, thanks.

  21. We don't need Luongo.....waste of time and money 1-2 years he'll request a trade!!!! My offer!!! A bag of USED pucks.

  22. Maybe Gillis is asking more than what market will bare but a reasonable offer I think would be Bozak, Scriven and a second for Luongo. If they could add Komaserik for a conditional pick (2nd if the Canucks make the final and a 3rd if they don't)in the deal than everyone will be happy.

    Bozak will help Vancouver by adding a decent 2/3 Center down the middle since they loss Hodgson. Scrivens is a gamble but will be decent backup for Schneider. Given that Scrivens is RFA, he has slightly less value but his upside would make it a wash. A second would probably be mid-round. Komaserik is a salary dump but for only 2 years but he would be decent 5-6 paring and given the strong cast in Vancouver, he will be much better therefore more digestible.

    Yes, Luongo is a world class goalie but the problem is the cap unfriendly salary which we all know is the main sticking point. From Vancouver's perspective, you don't technically "lose" anything since he will end up on the pine most nights. The upside for Toronto is obvious and for the Canucks, you have 2 serviceable assets a 2nd mid rounder and a potential starter or the very least backup goaltender and all without the cap issue once Komo's contract runs out.

  23. Your inclusion of Bozak is timely, Anon, especially with the update on Kessler which suggests it could be at least December before he can return.

    "Insiders" keep saying it will be Florida, but there are often surprises with this kind of situation- good post, thanks.