Until he’s actually traded, the Roberto Luongo trade saga is going to continue to drag out for the Vancouver Canucks.
Of course, as long as it has taken the Canucks to put together a Luongo trade, it can go one of two ways. Either Luongo plays well and drives up his value, or he continues to struggle to the point where the Canucks will almost have to give him away. As of right now, it looks like it’s going to be the former.
Early on in the season, Luongo has actually outperformed Cory Schneider between the pipes for Vancouver. It’s only two starts and three appearances, but Bobby Lu has looked impressive.
For the season, Luongo has a 2.20 goals-against average to go along with a .917 save percentage. Even with a shutout, Schneider has posted a save percentage under .900 and a GAA over three. That’s not to say that Luongo will take over again as the starting goaltender, but that option is there if he keeps it up.
Assuming that Schneider improves his play and turns it around, Luongo will still be on his way out at some point this season. It’s hard to imagine a different situation that keeps Luongo in Vancouver. But the fact that it’s almost a sure bet that he will be traded is a perfect situation for the Canucks.
Luongo playing well increases his value to the Canucks. If he’s playing at a high level in the midst of all of this trade talk, a team may want him even more. He’s already a valuable trade piece, but a strong stretch will drive up the price to acquire him to even higher levels than it already is.
An injury to Eddie Lack does complicate things, since he’d take over as Schneider’s backup in the event of a trade. That also complicates things a bit further, just as the very strong play of Luongo does. Regardless, one has to imagine that he’ll be traded prior to the trade deadline in April.
But by the time that deadline rolls around, Luongo could cost a whole lot more to acquire. The Canucks are in a situation where they don’t necessarily have to deal him. And him playing well increases their leverage. It’s going to be interesting to see what type of package it could take to acquire him, assuming that he is donning some new threads before the season is over.