They will not make a panic trade just for the sake of moving Luongo out of town. They aren’t moving him unless they get fair value for him.
"He’s an All-Star goalie,” veteran Canucks GM Mike Gillis told ESPN.com Monday. "It’s a completely media-driven notion that we have to do this quickly and it’s going to be a terrible situation [if Luongo starts the season in Vancouver]. It wasn’t a terrible situation last year and it won’t be this year if he’s here."
The fact that new No. 1 netminder Cory Schneider has a good relationship with Luongo certainly helps things. But for Luongo’s sake, you hope this deal gets done as soon as possible, although he’s been the utmost pro about it so far.
Toronto remains the most obvious destination, and while Gillis did not want to shed any more light on the Luongo situation Monday, another NHL source told ESPN.com that the Maple Leafs and Canucks have indeed touched based with each other since Brian Burke’s firing as GM last week.
But I don’t think too much has changed. I don’t believe new Leafs GM Dave Nonis wants to overpay, despite clearly having interest in Luongo -- a star netminder he brought to Vancouver in the first place when Nonis was the Canucks’ GM.
My understanding is that the Canucks’ asking price is an established NHL player plus a high-end prospect. In Toronto’s case, I believe that prospect is Nazem Kadri, and that’s a player I don’t think Toronto is willing to move at this point. That could change, of course.
But the reason Vancouver needs an NHL player as well in the deal is underlined by the injury to Ryan Kesler. The Canucks are thin right now at center. Whether it’s a guy like Tyler Bozak or another skater, Vancouver would need an established NHL body from the Leafs in any deal.
Toronto hasn’t given up on goalie James Reimer, either. I think the Maple Leafs want to see how he does out of the gates before deciding whether or not they need to make a goalie move. The risk in that, at least from the Luongo point of view, is that perhaps other NHL teams ramp up their interest in Luongo either because of injury or poor play from their goalie.
And by the way, whichever team gets Luongo is getting a netminder that remains among the top 10 elite netminders in the NHL, in my mind. And he’ll be a motivated one, too.
Gomez, Redden sent home
In the wake of Montreal’s announcement Sunday that Scott Gomez was sent home to await a summer buyout, the NHL Players’ Association reached out to the NHL to discuss the situation on Monday. In fact, both sides spoke a few times about it.
It doesn’t sit too well with the players’ union given that Gomez is unable to ply his trade. But because the Habs will continue to pay Gomez his full salary, there’s really nothing technically wrong, and certainly the NHL’s position is that rookie Montreal GM Marc Bergevin did nothing wrong here.
It’s the same situation in New York, where Wade Redden remains in limbo. Both the Rangers and Canadiens plan to use a compliance buyout this summer (which doesn’t count against the salary cap) to get out of those respective contracts -- but the new CBA states that those compliance buyouts can’t be used until June, at the earliest. Thing is, neither the Habs nor Rangers want to jeopardize that opportunity to get the cap savings by having the player get injured this season and thus not qualify for the compliance buyout if the player is still hurt come June.
From the NHLPA’s perspective, while both players are getting paid, not playing this season would hurt their future job prospects, and it’s hard to argue that.
What needs to happen here is common sense. I’m hoping the NHL and NHLPA come to some sort of side agreement that deals specifically with Gomez and Redden that allow each player to continue their NHL careers but still allow the Habs and Rangers to get out of their cap issue with both players next season. We shall see what comes out of this.
The Rangers, by the way, have worked hand in hand with Redden’s camp (agent Don Meehan) to try to solve this for weeks. So there’s no bad blood there at all. Just two sides trying to find a good and fair solution.