More than a year after he made it known he wouldn't mind a ticket out of town, Roberto Luongo is still on the Vancouver Canucks' trading block, and GM Mike Gillis said after the season it's unlikely Luongo will be with the team when the season starts.
The problem all along has been trying to find a taker for Luongo and, more importantly, the long and expensive contract he carries with him. It's such a burden that Luongo said he would scrap it if he could.
Well, it looks like the Canucks might have a taker, or at least a team considering it. From TSN's Bob McKenzie.
It's believed NYI would, under right circumstances, have interest in VAN G Roberto Luongo, tho 1st order of biz is to gauge cost on Nabokov.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 30, 2013
Nabokov is UFA. As for circumstances on Luongo, almost goes without saying it would mean VAN taking Rick DiPietro for compliance buyout.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) May 30, 2013
All along it seemed like Luongo could end up with his former team, certainly that was his preference. It turns out we all might have had the wrong former team. Remember, Luongo was with the Islanders before he was traded along with Olli Jokinen to the Florida Panthers, the team Luongo has been open about wanting to play for again. At this point, he'd be happy to play anywhere.
As McKenzie notes, the first priority is to figure out what's going on with Evgeni Nabokov, the Islanders' current No. 1 goalie. He's an unrestricted free agent at this point and would be a cheaper option than Luongo.
But it's fair to say Luongo would represent an upgrade, and if the Islanders OK'd the big salary on their pay sheet, it would be a great fit. The Islanders appear to be a team that's good goaltending away from making some real noise in the Eastern Conference. Luongo still has tread on his tires and could give the Isles that missing ingredient, at least for a couple of more seasons.
Before you get too excited about the possibility of Luongo being teammates with Tim Thomas, McKenzie says the Islanders have no plans to keep Thomas, meaning he'll be a free agent. Oh well.
Luongo played 20 games this season as the No. 2 goalie behind Cory Schneider in Vancouver, posting a 2.56 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. The 34-year-old was a Vezina Trophy finalist two seasons ago.