Gillis Wants Big Bucks, Burke Won't Pay, Lu Wants Florida

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The 2012 NHL draft has come and gone. Despite all of the trade rumors swirling in this city for well over a month, Luongo is still a Canuck. Mike Gillis is standing behind his motto of being comfortable with two goaltenders next season, and Brian Burke is making it known that he isn’t willing to cash out the team’s future for a 33 year old goaltender. Now it seems Luongo has thrown his hat into the ring and is refusing to go anywhere but Florida.

There have been so many conflicting reports about what is going on regarding Luongo that sifting through all the tweets and posts produced during the draft are near impossible. However, an article published yesterday by The globe and mail’s James Mirtle gives a bit of clarity on what is going on between Gillis and Burke via their indirect pot-shots at each other. The following quotes are taken directly from the aforementioned article:

Burke: 
“From my perspective, the prices that are being asked have to be reasonable,” Burke said. “If you can get a goaltender who makes you better, and it costs you 15 first-round picks, would you do it? No.

“So somewhere between 15 first-round picks and something that makes sense, we’re not there yet. I’m not going to overpay to upgrade at that position. I’m not happy with what’s being asked. From my perspective, rather than strip your organization to fill one positional need, we’ll go with what we have.”

Gillis:
“In my mind, there’s probably 15 legitimate No. 1 goalies in the world and he’s one of them,” Gillis said of Luongo. “Contrary to what people may think or describe, there’s a tremendous amount of interest in players that are high-end players in this league. Finding a fit is occasionally more challenging, but there’s definitely a fit to be found.

“It hasn’t been close for me. I’m the problem. This is a significant consideration for our organization, it’s not going to be done lightly. It’s not going to be done in a hurry.”

Burke was recently burned in the Kessel deal that saw him shipping off two first round draft picks. He has no intention of overpaying for a player if it is going to cost the Leafs any more of their future, regardless of making the playoffs or not.

Gillis on the other hand doesn’t want to make it seem like he needs to dump Luongo if his team has any chance of being a cup contender next season. Unfortunately, Gillis also wants to trade Luongo at face value, not market value. Luongo’s actual worth in the trade market is predictably low – the list of teams he is willing to remove his NTC is short, and the teams on that list that are interested are somewhere between Toronto and bust. Now it seem’s Luongo’s list of teams he is willing to be traded to has gotten even smaller. As in one team: The Florida Panthers.

According to Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch:

“Told by very good source Canucks G Roberto Luongo has – to this point — declined to waive no-trade clause to go to Blackhawks or Leafs.”

“Only place Luongo is willing to be traded, as of today, is back to the Florida Panthers.”

“Luongo using the power of his no-trade to “steer” a trade to Panthers as much as possible at this point in off-season.”

In short, it’s a mexican stand-off.

If Luongo refuses to be traded to a team that can match Gillis’ steep demands, he could very well end up on the bench come next season. Burke is in serious trouble if he doesn’t make the playoffs for the sixth year in a row but is refusing to pay up, and Gillis wants face value for Luongo. Eventually someone is going to crack and try to shoot Clint Eastwood in the face. If I remember correctly, that doesn’t end well for him.

There are two important extenuating factors to keep in mind:

1) The Canucks can always trade Schneider – Luongo is a proven starting goaltender and they have plenty of prospects to carry the back-up role like Eddie Lack.

2) Because of his no trade clause, Luongo has the final say. If he decides he is happy to sit on the bench until the Canucks are forced to trade Schneider because of contract weight, he is fully capable of doing so.

Mike Gillis has surprised Canucks fans in the past with the Hodgson trade, which should have taught us all a valuable lesson; don’t get too attached to your players, because nothing is guaranteed until the contract is inked.

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Dean Brookstone 

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