The Roberto Luongo saga is the story that just won’t go away for the Vancouver Canucks. Even as we prepare to head into the postseason with Luongo as the backup to Cory Schneider, the questions about his future continue to run rampant throughout the league.
The Canucks attempted to trade Luongo last summer, right before the regular season began, and just prior to the trade deadline. They were unable to find a favorable deal at any of those three different points, undoubtedly because their asking price for him remained high.
That asking price remained up there despite the fact that Luongo’s contract runs through the year 2022 and carries a $5.3 million cap hit. You won’t find a whole lot of teams too eager to add that to their payroll. We’ve also seen the number of Luongo suitors begin to dwindle.
James Reimer has re-emerged as the guy for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Depending on what he does in the playoffs, the Leafs may be completely out on Luongo. The Florida Panthers could still be a destination, but they don’t want to give up the likes of Jacob Markstrom in a deal.
A combination of a high asking price and high cap hit is going to make it difficult to move Luongo. It’s almost a guarantee that he won’t be back in Vancouver. Does that mean that Luongo and the Canucks will part by way of buyout? It’s looking more and more like a possibility.
The Canucks cannot afford to have Luongo’s money on the books at this point. They’re going to have to unload him. Either for a lower-than-desired package or a buyout. With Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin both up for free agency after next year, they can’t afford to mess around.
At this point, a buyout seems like it’ll have to be the route. The Canucks will try to shop him, no doubt. But if they’re unable to, they’ll have to utilize one of the buyouts that the new CBA provided them, officially bringing Roberto Luongo’s tenure in Vancouver to an end.