The NHL‘s newest proposal to the NHLPA had many changes to it that previous offers had not seen, or at least that had been made public. One of which that stands out more so than others is the fact that contracts that currently exceed five years (the new proposed maximum) will carry the cap hit to whichever team owns the player’s rights. However if that player is traded and retires prior to the contract expiring the team who had originally signed said player will have the contract’s cap hit added to their books.
Now with the Vancouver Canucks having just signed Cory Schneider to a new, multi-year contract at $4m per season it’s been expected that Roberto Luongo would soon be traded. The Canucks have stated that they are prepared to continue with the two in goal but will it be viable if the salary cap is reduced to just under $60 million?
One would think the Canucks would hold the leverage in a deal as they hold some risk to trading Luongo if he were to retire before the contract (10 years remaining) expires. However with the possibility of needing to reduce the team’s salary they could look to unload the contract at a discounted price to anyone who may be willing to pick it up.
The Florida Panthers are Luongo’s top choice as far as teams he’d like to play for, as his wife is originally from South Florida where they still own a home and live during the off-season. However the Canucks asking price reportedly had been highly touted prospect Nick Bjugstad, who is expected to be a future first line center and potential all-star.
Having very good scoring abilities and standing at 6’5″ and 220+ pounds, are all traits that are rare and expensive in today’s NHL and thus too high a price. But with Vancouver now potentially needing to drop salary the price could easily change to something a bit different. Maybe a second round pick and a young player such as Keaton Ellerby or Mike Santorelli could be in the works along with a prospect.
A conditional pick may also be included, if Luongo were to retire with 3 years remaining on his contract, sending the cap hit to the Canucks, the Panthers would have to give Vancouver a first round pick. If there’s two or less remaining by the time he retires it would become a second round pick, or something along those lines.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks are also rumored to be interested in Luongo and could become the netminder’s future team as well. I’m no expert and will never claim to be, but there is definitely more room for negotiating in a trade option with the possibility of the new collective bargaining agreement falling into place. Of course, with the players expected to make a counter proposal to the NHL on Thursday this could all change, but could also be possible in the near future.