‘Robert’ Luongo could get traded ‘to’ Vancouver, according to Sports Illustrated

“Wait, what?”

For a few brief, merciful days, all the talk of a Roberto Luongo trade in the media had been replaced by talk of a goalie controversy in Vancouver. We complained about the hype, questioned what would actually constitute a goalie controversy, and scoffed at how Alain Vigneault giving a world-class goaltender consecutive starts while he’s on a hot streak could even be called controversial.

But really, it was a relief.

For once, we could stop the endless speculation about potential Luongo trade destinations, returns, and whether he would even get traded at all. Instead, we could focus on a rather pleasant problem: which of the Canucks’ two fantastic goaltenders should start each game?

Unfortunately, it couldn’t last. Eventually the rumour mill would start up again; this time around, it was kicked into gear by a visit by Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman to the Verizon Center for a game between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. This, of course, immediately led to speculation from every corner of the media landscape that the Canucks were working on a trade with the Capitals, with Luongo the centrepiece. That included Sports Illustrated, who need to pay closer attention to their photo captions.

That is a screen capture from Allan Muir’s otherwise fine blog post from Sunday (and it’s worth noting that it probably isn’t the writer’s fault, but rather the web editor that posted it to the site). If you’re having trouble reading the caption, it says, “Could Robert Luongo be headed to Vancouver? A potential deal makes sense for both sides.”

Personally, I don’t think it does make sense.

As patient as Mike Gillis has been, he doesn’t seem the sort to be so suddenly hasty with this deal that he accidentally trades Luongo to himself. (Although Mason Raymond will tell you a paperwork error isn’t out of the question.) And Roberto Luongo might be willing to waive his no-trade clause to be moved elsewhere, but would he be willing to waive it come here? No one has asked him this question.

At the very least, having both a Roberto and a Robert Luongo on the Canucks would be a nightmare for the poor soul doing play-by-play, especially since he already has two Sedins to contend with.

It’s a pretty innocent, if inexplicable, error, but it’s particularly embarrassing given the general lack of coverage that hockey receives from Sports Illustrated in the first place. There’s a certain amount of schadenfreude from hockey fans when an entity like Sports Illustrated or ESPN screw up what little hockey coverage they do have. Actually, schadenfreude might be the wrong word. Is there a word in German that denotes incredulity, outrage, and laughter, combined with relief that they don’t cover hockey more often?

I may have gotten a little too specific.

As for Mr. Gillis going to Washington, it’s certainly intriguing to see the Canucks’ dynamic management duo scouting a team with two young goaltenders, neither of whom are asserting themselves as the number one starter. The Capitals have struggled to start the season and are 27th in the league in goals against per game. Michal Neuvirth is 24th in the NHL in save percentage, while Holtby is 38th.

So, the Capitals could conceivably be in the market for a goaltending upgrade and have a spare goaltender that could head the other way as a potential backup to Cory Schneider. Would they be interested in Luongo and also willing to part with what Gillis wants? That’s another question entirely.

The Canucks could go after the young, talented, right-shooting defenceman John Carlson, who was rumoured to be one of the targets in the Cody Hodgson trade, but the Capitals are unlikely to give him up. They might want the 22-year-old Swedish centre, Marcus Johansson, as many have speculated, who has no points through 7 games after putting up 46 last season. Then again, his underlying possession numbers are spotty at best and he’s questionable when it comes to faceoffs. Also, the Capitals probably still like his potential.

Could Brooks Laich be a target? He’s a big, middle-six centre that might be able to fill that third line role that none of Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre or Jordan Schroeder seem perfectly suited for. But he’s also a big part of the Capitals’ core. Would they be willing to part with him?

During the 2011 off-season, the Canucks reportedly made a contract offer to Joel Ward, who instead signed with the Capitals for a 4-year deal worth $3 million per season. Could they be interested in him again? Maybe. Maybe not. As a right winger, he doesn’t fill an immediate need, and $3 million is a hefty cap hit for a 32-year-old who scored just 18 points last season.

The Capitals had two first round picks in the 2012 draft, selecting Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson. Would the Capitals be willing to trade one of them to get Luongo? I sincerely doubt it, though stranger things have happened. Neither would help the Canucks this season, though either would improve the Canucks’ prospect pool.

Then there’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, arguably one of the best players not in the NHL right now. The question is whether he will ever come to the NHL, as he currently plans to stay in the KHL until after the Olympics in Sochi. Would the Capitals want to cut their ties and could the Canucks take a gamble? I have no earthly idea. I’m just asking leading questions in order to get your hopes up before they’re inevitably dashed.

All of this is just speculation at this point. Luongo might get traded to Washington or he might get traded to Florida, Toronto, Philadelphia, or Chicago. He might get traded during this current season or the Canucks might wait until the summer. I don’t know. None of the other writers speculating on the subject know either. It’s entirely possible that Gillis doesn’t know, as the right trade offer at the right time could change everything.

Or, maybe, Luongo will change his name to “Robert” and somehow get traded from Vancouver to Vancouver.

Okay, probably not that one.

 

Stick-tap to Jason Baker (@JBonCanucks) for the tip.

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21 comments

  1. TeeJay
    February 4, 2013

    If anyone wants to relax and be comforted after this news,Watch THE(CANADIAN) TENORS tomorrow. I hope they got Sean Jones to sing with them.Hey! What?! !!Tickets are sold out?!!!!

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  2. Brent
    February 4, 2013

    Lets make a new word for “incredulity, outrage, and laughter, combined with relief”

    UngläubigkeitWutLachenEntlastungs

    Hhmm seems a little long and awkward, probably won’t catch on like schadenfreude.

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  3. TeeJay
    February 4, 2013

    Can’t wait when someone in SI would come out with the news that Tim Tebow got traded in Vancouver???????

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  4. Nee
    February 4, 2013

    GM George McPhee of WSH is quoted in the Globe and Mail this morning as saying that he has not had any discussions with Gillis, and that he would not take on Roberto’s contract.

    Which makes me wonder, was Giliis and Gilman appearing at the game just a cynical ploy to push the trade back into the spotlight, given that WSH and PIT usually get huge media coverage? Or I guess they could be scouting for another trade enitrely. Either way, it’s a bit odd for them to be so far from Vancouver…I can’t help thinking that media attention was the ntention of BOTH of them being there…

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    • Brent
      February 4, 2013

      Maybe he was trying to pressure another team to continue being interested? Nothing increases interest than someone else coveting what you are not sure you covet.

      Or maybe, just maybe, it is Schneider they are shopping. I don’t think he has a no trade clause.

      Have to agree that it seems weird that they would show up and be visible. He is usually very covert.

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  5. steveB
    February 4, 2013

    I remain highly sceptical that Roberto Luongo is being traded to Vancouver without mention of a Third Round Pick.

    We’d be lucky to get him, but the lack of a TRP indicates idle speculation to me.

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    • Brent
      February 4, 2013

      Good point, maybe it will be Luongo, one of the Sedin’s, lets say Daniel (he is having a bad year), and Kessler (that guy is always injured), for a mess of players, a bag of pucks and the mythical TRP.
      You can bank on it!

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      • Rituro
        February 4, 2013

        TRP?! Solid lead. Bank it.

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  6. natevk
    February 4, 2013

    How come no “Roberto Luongo to Penguins” rumours got started? They were in that game too!

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  7. Chris the Curmudgeon
    February 4, 2013

    Well, at least Robert Luongo won’t have the indignity of being traded for himself, like major league shortstop John McDonald once was. (Seriously: he was traded to the Tigers for “future considerations” which ended up being himself going back to the Blue Jays)

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  8. ruffdeezy
    February 4, 2013

    Brouwer, Neuvirth, and a late pick for Luongo

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    • Rituro
      February 4, 2013

      Late as in… third round?

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  9. jub_al
    February 4, 2013

    Schneider, Ballard, Mason Raymond for Neuvirth and Ovechkin… DONE =)

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  10. edoryu
    February 4, 2013

    How could this be? According to melrose, he’s our #1 goalie again!

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=13620&navid=nhl:topheads

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  11. anon
    February 4, 2013

    Laich has an NTC.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 4, 2013

      Well, so does Luongo. But yes.

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  12. BBoone
    February 4, 2013

    A moratorium on Canuck goalie talk would be such a relief . Until Kesler and Booth return
    why not keep the best goalie tandem in the league, if not one of the best of all time, quite intact unless GMMG is overwhelmed by an offer he cant refuse. Cap space is not the issue at the moment and since we will not be scoring any goals in the foreseeable future lets do something radical and fork up some of those canuck bucks they owe me for supporting them over the last 57 years and keep them from scoring any on us.

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  13. SeattleFan
    February 4, 2013

    Clearly SI didn’t make a mistake – they actually had a huge scoop! The Coyotes are moving to Vancouver, Washington and they are getting Luongo, who is willing to “Americanize” his name. Two huge stories come to an end. Now, what do we talk about?

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  14. tj
    February 4, 2013

    I would watch a Spike Jonze/Charlie Hoffman version of “Mr Gillis Goes to Washington,” to trade Robert/o Luongo with himself. That would totally blow my mind. I’d need Doritos fersure.

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  15. tj
    February 4, 2013

    …and by Hoffman, I mean Kaufman. Not Dustin Hoffman. Although seeing him try to ‘do’ Luongo would sort of work in Jonze/Kaufman world…

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  16. biznow
    February 5, 2013

    I hope Luongo doesn’t get traded to Vancouver, the Canucks have been much better since @strombone1 took over for Luongo.

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