Roberto Luongo has long been rumored to be leaving the Vancouver Canucks. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been mentioned as one of the destinations. The Florida Panthers have been mentioned as well. The Edmonton Oilers are rumored to have kicked some tires to see what the price tag would be on the enigmatic goaltender.
Why would the Edmonton Oilers be checking out the availability of Luongo? To be honest, I’m not sure why. We all know Luongo has an impressive portfolio, especially when it comes to statistical categories. But there is so much working against Luongo and his fit with the Oilers. One, has to do with his contract. The 33 year old has 10 more years left on his deal at a 5,333,333 cap hit. The last thing the Oilers need is another Nikolai Khabibulin situation where they are paying good dollars to a goaltender well past his prime, to go along with entering a team that may or may not be ready to win. There are more question marks on the Oilers that need to be addressed before they address the ones in goal.
The other issue with Luongo is his flaky play when everything is on the line. Luongo does have a gold medal to his credit, but has been a whipping boy of the Canucks faithful ever since leading his to the Stanley Cup Finals two seasons ago. The Canucks and Canucks fans’ seem to be ready to back long time backup Cory Schneider. What does that make of Luongo? Is Schneider that good or has Luongo just not been able to the stand the hype? I’m not sure its wise for the Oilers to tie their horse to Luongo at this stage of the game when the Oilers are trying to emerge out of the basement in short order.
All in all, I think the Oilers would be wise to avoid Luongo for the time being. The Oilers have an impressionable young core and the Oilers should let them grow while avoiding drama. Luongo has had drama follow him throughout his career, some derserved, some not. In the meantime, the Oilers should continue to groom Devan Dubnyk, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz in the minors, all while keeping tabs on the bargain bin.