Luongo Wants Out

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luongo

Update May 24, 2012 from Canoe.ca:

In a telephone interview with the TVA Sports, Vigneault, who signed a contract extension Wednesday, said that Luongo asked to be traded from the Canucks. “This is what he wants now,” Vigneault told TVA’s The Match on Wednesday. “And what we must do is (make the best decision) for our organization.”

If you believe what the coach says, Luongo’s fate could be decided during the summer when both he and the team would have time to find an amicable solution.

As of this morning, Lu has officially requested to be traded. After 7 years in the harsh spotlight of Vancouver and a disappointing Stanley Cup run by the Canucks, Roberto Luongo’s time as the #1 goaltender has finally come to an end. The teams he is reportedly willing to open his no-trade clause for include the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Cory Schneider took the reigns in games 3, 4 and 5 against he L.A. Kings and it is now clear Luongo is not willing to ride the pine while his counterpart gets all the glory. I’m sure the wear and tear of the constant hate he receives in this town added to the decision. Schneider will step up as the new hope for Vancouver, something fans have been salivating over for what feels like an eternity. How Schneider does over the full course of a regular season is entirely speculative at this point, but he undoubtedly will run into a rough patch here and there. It is up to the fans of this city as to how they will react and if they will turn on him like they did with Luongo.

Now that Luongo has made a public declaration he wants to be traded, it affects both the signing of Schneider and what we can get in return for Lu. Schneider now has the ball in his court and can demand a king’s ransom to remain in Vancouver (he is a restricted free agent right now). Anyone who thinks Cory will be aleviating the stress of Luongo’s cap hit needs to check themselves; Schneider is about to land his dream contract.

With Luongo demanding a trade and saying he is sick and tired of Vancouver, his returns just went way down. Gillis no longer holds all the cards, and teams know the Canucks cannot hold both Schneider and Luongo simultaneously. Gillis will have to do some pretty serious handiwork on this one to turn Lu into a profit. The only way Luongo is going to produce a serious player for Vancouver via trade is if we eat a cap hit as well, like Ryan Malone’s $4.5 million from Tampa. Otherwise, Luongo might be getting off the books for a meager late 1st round draft pick and a prospect.

It is unfortunate for Luongo to leave the city on a note like this. He has been nothing short of spectacular and led the Canucks to the post season repeatedly, won a gold medal for Canada, and dragged the team through the Stanley Cup finals last year with 2 shutouts. It is hard to remember the good in a situation such as this one, but Luongo has weathered the hate storm this city has thrown on his back for years and still managed to post fantastic numbers. For the most part, he has taken it all in stride. Cory Schneider seems like the right choice as he is 7 years younger and from the looks of things, just more well-rounded, but that doesn’t take away from Luongo’s accomplishments in this town. Adios Lu, we hardly knew ye… Well at least the other 10 years on your contract.

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Dean Brookstone 

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