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NHL Rumors: Roberto Luongo may not accept return to Canucks

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

The Canucks are in a tight spot if Roberto Luongo still wants out of Vancouver. (USATSI)
The Canucks are in a tight spot if Roberto Luongo still wants out of Vancouver. (Getty Images)

More NHL offseason: Rumors | Top 50 Free Agents | Buyout Tracker | Trades | Transactions

As players are furiously getting signed on the first day of free agency in the NHL, there is still drama unfolding in Vancouver surrounding the Canucks and disgruntled goaltender Roberto Luongo.

According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, Luongo is still considering his options and might not accept returning to the Canucks this season.

The star goaltender still has nine years remaining on his 12-year, $64 million contract, at an annual cap hit of $5.33 million.

The Canucks are in a bit of a tight spot here, having traded away goalie Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth overall pick at the NHL Draft this year.

Luongo was reportedly blindsided by the move that ensured he'd be the No. 1 goalie going forward for Vancouver after expecting to either be bought out or traded himself.

The Canucks netminder is still a legitimate No. 1 in the NHL, but if he doesn't want to play in Vancouver, there's a chance it could affect his play. That's of course assuming he comes back at all.

Luongo's options are limited, however. His contract makes him difficult to trade and now that Schneider is out of the picture, the Canucks may simply have to find a way to make things work somehow.

New Canucks coach John Tortorella was expected to meet with Luongo in the near future and has continually lauded the goaltender publicly. That may not matter much. If Luongo was prepared to move on, it might not be easy patchwork here.

Should Luongo decide to work through things and play, Vancouver has at least a temporary solution, but there's not much stopping this from happening again. Mike Gillis might have bet on the wrong horse when it came to goalies and now he's without an escape route.

This is a situation worth monitoring very closely in the coming weeks.

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