Washington Capitals’ Reported Interest in Roberto Luongo Never Made Sense
The NHL trade deadline will always have a few surprise rumors crop up. One of the biggest to come up today was that of the possible interest the Washington Capitals had in acquiring goalie Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks.
Yes, that Roberto Luongo, he of the mammoth contract that lasts until 2022 and was essentially the biggest snag in Vancouver’s attempts to move him the past few years. Yes, those Washington Capitals who, despite struggling to get a hold on a playoff spot, can’t really look at goaltending as a reason for their struggles.
Luckily for the Caps, the Florida Panthers snuck in and traded for Luongo. Though this officially takes the former Canuck off the trade market, it begs the question; why would Washington have been interested in trading for Luongo in the first place?
As mentioned, while Washington is struggling to stay consistent enough to lock up a postseason berth, their goalies aren’t exactly the ones to blame. Neither Braden Holtby nor rookie Philipp Grubauer has a GAA above 2.94, and both have respectable save percentages as well. For comparison’s sake, Luongo’s numbers are a little better than Holtby’s, but Grubauer has an identical GAA and a better save percentage than the Canucks goalie. However, Grubauer also has 26 less starts, so you can’t read too much into this.
At the same time, there doesn’t appear to be a glaring hole in the Capitals’ net, thus negating a desperate need to make a move for a goalie. That said, if they felt this was a position that needed an upgrade in order to make the playoffs, then sure, make a move. But the size of Luongo’s contract made something like this an incredibly high risk.
At this point, Luongo still has eight years left on his deal. By the time it ends, he’ll be 43, and Vegas odds favor him not having a ton left in the tank by that point. Would the Caps have been so desperate to make a trade for a goalie that they’d be willing to take on Luongo until he’s well past his prime?
Make no mistake; Luongo is still performing admirably in net, so this isn’t a knock on his ability. Despite being given his fair share of grief over the past few years, he’s still one of the better goalies in the league. Of course, his recent postseason struggles are well-documented. Would a team like Washington, which hasn’t exactly been world-beaters in the playoffs, have been willing to trust him as the guy who can get them over the hump?
Again, thanks to the Panthers acquiring Luongo, this will simply remain a rumor and nothing more. However, if the Capitals are considering potential moves in net, there are still more than a few that wouldn’t nearly be as risky as this one would have been, and that includes sticking with what they currently have on their roster. For that reason, it’s a very good thing they avoided trading for Luongo.