NHL Rumors: With Latest Luongo News, Toronto Maple Leafs Must Commit to James Reimer

By Jon Reid

It’s been a long offseason for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

From the NHL draft in June, to a long and painfully quiet free agency period, Leafs Nation has been waiting for GM Brian Burke to do something to address Toronto’s two biggest needs; goaltending and a legitimate first-line center.

Earlier on this summer, there were rumors floating around that the Leafs may attempt to address their need in net with perennial All-Star candidate Roberto Luongo after the Vancouver Canucks elected to lock up their upstart netminder Cory Schneider and make it fairly clear that he would be their starting goalie moving forward.

Unfortunately for Leafs fans, the discussions between Brian Burke and Canucks GM Mike Gillis never amounted to anything and yet another rumor surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs was put to rest.

Earlier this week, however, the Toronto Sun brought the Roberto Luongo drama back to the forefront, when they posted an article about Luongo’s comments to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

During that interview, Luongo re-iterated his desire for a trade to the Florida Panthers, but also said he had not closed the door to other possibilities.

Essentially, the Toronto Sun wants you to believe that the Leafs are still in the running for the veteran goalie.

At this point, though, it would be wise for Toronto to pass on Bobby Lu, even if the Canucks were looking at Toronto as a major trade partner.

After Luongo has made it clear that Florida would be the only market he really wants to go to, it makes you wonder if Luongo will have the drive to succeed in a market that has chewed up and spit out as many goalies as Toronto has.

Luongo has come under fire already for not being able to handle the pressure in Vancouver and a move to Toronto would only bring  more pressure and scrutiny (another reason Florida is probably more appealing to the Montreal, Quebec native).

Furthermore, with another lockout looming, the salary cap situation is uncertain and bringing in a contract worth over $5 million per season for the next decade could end up proving to be a mistake of disastrous proportions for Toronto.

If the 2012-2013 season does start at some point, the Leafs would be wise to stick with James Reimer who served them so well in his brief rookie campaign.

With a full offseason to recover from a head injury that seemed to nag at him all of last season, there is no reason to believe Reimer can’t return to his impressive form of 2011.

Jon is Rant Sports’ lead blogger for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Feel free to comment in the comments section below and follow him on twitter @RantLeafsWriter.


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