Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis wasn’t allowed to even talk to goalie Roberto Luongo during the NHL lockout, let alone to have discussions about where he could be minding the net in the future. But now that the lockout is over and the business of trading and deals can begin again, Gillis hinted that something could happen in the future. However, he may need a little time to figure out exactly what he’s going to do.
“[T]he lockout ends and suddenly, you’re trying to make a decision in four or five days about a premier player in this League, and it’s tough to make a trade of this magnitude in eight months, let alone four days. So we have him here, and we’re happy having him here,” Gillis told the Vancouver Sun. “There wasn’t really time to do anything but this. And we’re going to let it play out. Lots of stuff is going to happen here in the first month.”
Gillis is certainly right about that. Vancouver fans–and other keenly interested hockey fans–watched as Cory Schneider gave up five goals against the Anaheim Ducks in the season opener and was replaced by none other than Luongo. Luongo then played the next game against the Edmonton Oilers and lost 3-2 in a shootout.
There have already been some offers for his services, but they weren’t up to Gillis’ standards.
“Excess salary coming back with a [throw-in] player who can’t play in our lineup,” Gillis said by way of describing these proposals. “They say, ‘OK, we’ll do this, but you’ve got to take this.’ Well, we’re not taking it. We’ve had lots of proposals like that with good pieces that can help us but the other part doesn’t help us, and oftentimes they have term attached to them, so we’d just be turning around and buying out a guy,” he said.
He’s also not going to consider any proposal that includes someone who can’t play in the lineup. That makes sense–if you’re trading away a big-ticket player like Luongo, you ideally want to get someone really good in return.
But then he turns around and makes it sound like he’s rather content with the Luongo-Schneider tandem, like no trades could be around the corner at all.
“I’d rather keep the guy we know, who’s a good person,” he said. “We have a really good player here who brings a tremendous amount to the team, his professionalism, his willingness to work — he’s the kind of player that changes the culture on a team and shows players what it means to be an elite-level player.”
From the sound of that, it looks like there might not be any moves made about Luongo for a while. Or maybe there will be. Or maybe not. With the way Gillis talks about it, it’s hard to tell.