Earlier this week, I argued that Roberto Luongo’s professed willingness to waive his no-trade clause if asked didn’t mean what we thought it meant. No, it wasn’t Luongo requesting a trade. It was simply Luongo admitting that he wouldn’t stand in the way if GM Mike Gillis purposed to move him. The decision remained in Gillis’s hands.
That take reached obsolescence in less than 48 hours. According to reports, Luongo has requested a trade after all.
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) April 26, 2012
According to further reports, Luongo has also provided Mike Gillis a list of teams he’s willing to go to, a list that’s being revealed to the public one by one, like the Cylons aboard Battlestar Galactica. (One imagines by late summer we’ll learn the final four all at once when they meet in a room, realize their true selves, and say, “We’re frakkin’ Luongo trade destinations.”)
Frankly, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise, especially after Luongo meta-tweeted from the Strombone1 account, once again, and effectively assured himself that everything was going to be all right:
Chin up Charlie @notbobbylu ur still the best French Italian goalie in the league in my books!
—Strombone (@strombone1) April 25, 2012
Stay strong, me. We’ll get through this major life change together.
And thus one of the major questions heading into the summer — Luongo or Schneider — is answered before we even begin. Barring a twist of Hitchcock-ian proportions, Schneider will be the Canucks’ number one next year.
But this leads me to another major question: how the heck did this get out?
As several, including myself, have pointed out, the return for Luongo was never going to be as significant as the return for Schneider. While the skillsets of the two goaltenders are similar, Schneider’s contract is extremely flexible (he doesn’t really have one) and he’s just 26 (and as a fellow 26-year-old, I can attest to this being a very sexy age). Luongo, on the other hand, is bogged down in years – the duration of his contract, how long he’s been alive – that are going to give teams pause and diminish his return.
But do you know what else diminishes trade return? Dealing from a position of non-power. When Luongo said he’d waive his no-trade clause if asked, he left all the power in Mike Gillis’s hands. The moment he asked first, however, Gillis lost negotiating strength.
Now the Canucks’ GM is shopping an item that everyone knows he has to sell.
That’s very un-Gillis, if you ask me. Either the report is false (as Gillis only sort of indicated this morning on the radio), someone screwed up majorly here (a reason Gillis might feel the need to go out and quash the report), or Canucks management feels there’s some benefit to Luongo’s trade request going public that offsets the weaker negotiating position. On that third point, here are a couple guesses as to what that benefit might be:
1) It focuses the trade talks.
If Gillis gets on the phone with the GMs looking for goalies and he’s effectively got both goalies on the market, how many people are going to look at Luongo? If General Managers are caught up in the shiny newness of Cory Schneider and would much rather haggle over him, Gillis will have to waste time and energy constantly redirecting the buyer. But, if Gillis is only shopping one piece, he can focus on getting the best return for it instead.
2) It allows Gillis to keep his word.
The moment Luongo said he would waive his no-trade clause if asked, I flashed back to something Gillis has said time and time again: he will never ask a player to waive his no-trade clause. Never ever.
That in mind, when Luongo said he’d waive it if asked, I wondered how, exactly, Gillis was going to navigate going back on his word. But now he doesn’t have to, because the decision was the player’s. And thus, Gillis’s reputation among potential free agent signees — and his ego — was spared.
In closing, it is my hope that Luongo ends up in Toronto. Why? Because the Leafs are in the Winter Classic this year, which means they’re also on HBO 24/7. The world needs Roberto Luongo on HBO.Tags: Gillyleaks, Luongo, schneider, trade request