Report: Alain Vigneault confirms Roberto Luongo wants to leave Canucks

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com
Luongo doesn't seem interested in watching a lot from the bench. (Getty Images)

The big question this summer for the Vancouver Canucks is will he stay or will he go? He is of course Roberto Luongo, their No. 1 goaltender for the past six seasons and a Vezina Trophy finalist twice in those six seasons.

While the question of will he go still has to be answered, coach Alain Vigneault has answered whether or not Luongo wants to go.

Speaking with TVASports after signing his new extension with the Canucks on Wednesday, Vigneault talked about his No. 1 goalie. I didn't take French growing up (I studied Spanish instead) so I turned to Google translate to help. Here's what it tells me Vigneault said.

In a telephone interview with the TVA Sports, Wednesday, one who just sign a new deal that will keep him at the helm of the Canucks for the next three seasons indicated that Luongo wants to leave the Canadian team, which he took on the uniform for six seasons.

"This is what he wants now, Vigneault told the TV show "The Match" on Wednesday. And what we must do is [make the best decision] for our organization.

...

"We will act in the best interest of our organization, while watching what is best for Roberto."

The situation has of course been brought on by the emergence of Cory Schneider. Not to mention that the tide has turned on Luongo where he has definitely fallen out of favor with the rabid fans. It's not like he has played poorly at all, he has just been the scapegoat for the fans, especially since he struggled for a stretch of last year's playoffs.

Vigneault made sure to clear that misconception.

"Roberto has been blamed more than any other [for the elimination of the Canucks]," Vigneault said in the interview. "Especially after the defeat against Boston. It was not fair."

But back to Schneider, he has been arguably the best backup goaltender in the NHL the past two seasons and many feel it's his time to take over somewhere. If you're Vancouver, you'd like it to be there. That means the older and more expensive Luongo would be asked to split more time.

The questions about this very issue came up immediately after the Canucks were eliminated, the writing seemed to be on the wall that one of the goalies was going to leave Vancouver. For his part, Luongo was very professional and said all the right things to the media but reading between the comments he sure didn't sound like somebody who was opposed to going somewhere else.

Now we have the coach saying as much.

This is going to spice up the goaltender market this summer a lot. Looking at the free agents there aren't many that will strike your fancy, so Luongo, if he is indeed made available, will likely draw a lot of attention and the Canucks could be in a position of strength in trade talks.

More from Eye on Hockey

Luongo says he'd waive no-trade clause

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