When the NHL lockout comes to its official end, few players will be discussed more than Roberto Luongo. That’s mainly due to the fact that few players face a more uncertain future than the embattled Vancouver Canucks goaltender.
Luongo lost his starting gig between the Vancouver pipes to the younger Cory Schneider. By all accounts, Schneider will now become the starter for the Canucks. Which has left Luongo’s future with the club entirely up in the air, as he faces a few different scenarios.
We’ve heard a ton about a potential trade of Luongo. If the Canucks, and Luongo, have their way, he will likely be traded before a new season begins. The two most obvious takers are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.
The Leafs are in dire need of a veteran goaltender, and a player of Lu’s caliber would be a tremendous addition, even if the team in front of them does need a ton of work. Despite initial rumors that Luongo did not want the pressure of playing in that type of market, he has since said otherwise.
There is also the Panthers, who the Canucks had originally acquired Luongo from. He still resides in Florida, and would probably be more than happy to take his talents back to South Beach. But it’s unknown whether or not the Cats would be willing to surrender the prospects that Vancouver might want.
Should the Canucks fail to find a match in a Luongo trade, which seems unlikely, things may get tricky. At this point, it’s almost impossible to see him returning to Vancouver, even though he has said he’s open to it. If not, would the Canucks use one of their two buyouts on him?
That is actually unlikely. Even if the Canucks were hellbent on getting rid of Luongo, there are candidates more worthy of a buyout, and they don’t carry the value that he does.
It’s still likely that Luongo is going to be traded. Heading to Toronto or to South Beach is a more likely occurrence than virtually any other scenario. But until we actually see where he is headed, we are left to wonder what will become of old Bobby Lu heading into the 2013 season.