As suitors continue to dwindle for Roberto Luongo, it’s getting tougher and tougher to try and determine where he may land. The most logical destination remains the New York Islanders, but beyond the club that drafted him, there doesn’t appear to be much out there.
In fact, the most logical destination may not be where Luongo eventually ends up. After initial rumors that the Islanders were going to have some interest in the embattled goaltender, it appears that they aren’t actually in on trade talks for him. They’re looking to upgrade their situation, just not with Luongo.
Whether it’s a matter of the long-term contract, his presence on Twitter, an effort to gain some leverage, or his penchant for melting down in the playoffs, we aren’t sure exactly why the Islanders are already announcing themselves out of the Luongo sweepstakes. But it’s a mistake.
The play of Evgeni Nabokov was part of what caused the Islanders to be knocked out of the postseason as quickly as they were. That’s not to say that they would have made a real run, or even made it out of the first round, but he was as bad as his track record indicated he’d be.
Which means that the Islanders need a big upgrade in net. Aside from the actual financial cost of acquiring Luongo, he might be the easiest to acquire, in terms of what talent needs to be surrendered. The leverage is in the corner of the team trying to acquire Luongo, given that he’s an expensive backup on a team that doesn’t want him, and one he wants no part of it.
They could acquire Luongo and settle their situation in net without having to surrender too much talent. He still has a few good years left, and playing in a market that isn’t Vancouver could help his level of play dramatically. If the Islanders truly are out on Luongo, it’ll be interesting to see how they settle their presence in net heading into next season.