By now, you could probably publish an anthology of the digital ink that’s been spilled speculating on Roberto Luongo’s next destination, and not just some sissy course-pack. This thing would rival the Norton Shakespeare with the writing of Thomas Drance alone — in the past month, at that.
Yeah, we’re still talking about Funny Bob. If you thought that the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and the delay in getting a new one might put this topic on the back burner — especially since it’s literally impossible for Luongo to be traded right now — think again. Last week, John Shannon got things started right back up by saying that a deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs “done”.
What he meant, since he’s as aware as anybody that you can’t trade players without a CBA and hockey totally doesn’t have one of those right now, was that it’s “all but done”. I spoke to him on the phone over the weekend, and he clarified: “Here’s what I truly believe: with the information that I have, once the collective bargaining agreement is done and all the rules and regulations are in place, that a deal between Brian Burke and the Canucks will be made.”
Mike Gillis has since issued a full denial of Shannon’s report, but Shannon stuck to his guns in a Sportsnet piece over the weekend. Granted, this line tripped me up somewhat:
“I do not know who or what [Luongo] will be traded for, and believe it or not, I don’t think general managers Mike Gillis and Brian Burke know either. The rules of any new collective bargaining agreement will dictate the actual transaction.”
In other words, the deal is only all but done in the sense that it’s not done at all? Right on.
Gillis and Burke are negotiating, though, and I would suggest that the last five days aren’t just evidence of that — they are that. This deal, like the CBA, is being negotiated in public.
After all, while some trade rumours are completely made up, (it’s quite easy!) others are strategically planted as a means of gaining leverage. In the case of Burke and Gillis, there is plenty to be gained.
The two GMs are in similar situations. Both lost a lot of face last year after their franchises performed below the expectations of the fanbase and, considering the fanbases involved, neither will be forgiven if the same occurs again this year. A Luongo trade could be the answer on both ends. Most pundits agree that acquiring Luongo turns the Maple Leafs into a playoff team. Meanwhile, trading Luongo should reap the piece or pieces the Canucks need to make another major run at the Stanley Cup.
Gillis and Burke know this, and their fans know it too, which is why the GMs have been coyly stringing them along since April. There’s pressure to act from both fanbases. It’s why their offers keep coming out. It’s why these names keep flying around.
Speaking of which, here are the new names, courtesy Thomas Drance. From Canucks Army:
I find it interesting that Cox and Botch’s reports by and large corroborate each other. Where Botchford says that the Canucks counter offer at the draft included “Gardiner-plus-plus-plus,” Damien Cox does some rumour algebra, and produces three assets: a first round pick, Matt Frattin and Tyler Bozak.
Of course, the corroboration only goes so far, and the writer writing for a Vancouver audience brought up super sized prospect Joe Colborne as a possible centre piece, while the writer writing for a Toronto audience claimed that the replacement level Tyler Bozak is the object of Vancouver’s desire. But I think it’s pretty likely that Botchford and Cox are both talking about the same Vancouver counter proposal, and I think it’s probable that their sources on this are sound.
My guess, since Colborne is the same size, age, and position as Nick Bjustad, whom the Canucks were asking from Florida, and Bozak is effectively Andrew Ebbett but worse defensively, is that the Canucks are asking for Colborne, the Leafs are offering Bozak, and these public negotiations are one side’s way of forcing the other side to acquiesce.
Who will cave? My money is on the Maple Leafs, especially if we get a half-season instead of a full one. While Gillis looked foolish for holding Luongo through the draft, then through the summer, and finally right into the lockout, this thing is starting to turn in his favour like a bad joke repeated until it becomes funny again. Brian Burke needs the Leafs to make the playoffs, and as as the games fall off the schedule and the margin of error in a lockout-shortened season slims, his need to have his goaltending situation shored up from day one becomes more and more glaring.Tags: Luongo, Roberto Luongo, this trade is never going to happen