Ah, the irony.
Garth Snow has spent a good chunk of his tenure cleaning up the mess left by Mike Milbury as general manager of the New York Islanders. The idea of what could take place this summer between the Islanders and Vancouver Canucks has the potential to send the hockey world into an absolute mind-bending frenzy.
It has been suggested that the Islanders could be looking to make a run at Roberto Luongo this summer. I mentioned it as something that the Islanders should do this summer, but now it looks like something that they’re actually planning on doing. And it makes sense on multiple levels.
The Islanders need a goaltender. Evgeni Nabokov would like to come back, but he’s not the answer in anything but a backup capacity. He was awful during the playoffs, and his postseason track record over the course of his career is pretty terrible. If the Islanders want to make a deeper run next year, it won’t be with him.
Enter Roberto Luongo. He’s going to be traded this summer. Mike Gillis wants to trade him, rather than buy him out because there is still plenty of value in Luongo, even with his contract. Could he being going back to the team that originally drafted him? It’s a possibility. Originally a fourth overall pick of the Islanders, Luongo started 20 games on Long Island back in 1999-2000 before Milbury eventually traded him.
There’s no doubt that the Islanders need a goaltender of Luongo’s caliber to be successful. He still has a few good years left in him, and could thrive in a lower pressure environment like the Islanders have. Even with that absurdly long contract, he’d be an outstanding fit, on and off the ice.
The story isn’t so much whether or not he’d be a fit. The story is the irony that could take place if the Islanders were to deal the likes of Rick DiPietro in order to acquire Luongo. Obviously there would be other pieces, rather than a one-for-one swap. But DiPietro was a reason that Luongo was dealt.. This was a goaltender with loads of potential, and it was him being drafted that resulted in Luongo being drafted. He eventually signed a 15-year contract, which very well could be the worst in the history of the league.
Now there’s a chance that the two could cross paths again. There are rumors of a deal that would include them both, with DiPietro being bought out immediately after, hence other players being involved. If that weren’t the case, Gillis would simply buy Luongo out himself.
This is something to keep an eye on. It makes sense for both sides on a few different levels. If you’re an Islanders fan, this is something that you are absolutely hoping takes place at some point this summer. Not only does it cleanse the organization of DiPietro, it brings their recent goalie struggles to an end.
Will it happen? There’s no guarantee, and quite frankly there isn’t any sort of confirmation that the two sides have talked. It’s all speculation at this point. But it’s hard to deny the logic behind such a deal taking place this offseason.