Roberto Luongo spent five seasons with Florida before being dealt to the Vancouver Canucks. (Getty Images)
With NHL training camps due to begin later this month (barring another lockout, of course), the Vancouver Canucks appear no closer to trading goaltender Roberto Luongo than they were at the start of the summer.
Harvey Fialkov of Sun-Sentinel.com caught up with Luongo, who lives and trains near Miami in the off-season to be near his wife’s family, at the Florida Panthers practice facility earlier this week, where the Canucks netminder told him the Panthers remain his preferred destination.
Luongo, who spent five seasons with the Panthers prior to being dealt to Vancouver in 2006, wouldn’t rule out other options, but said the Panthers made sense “for myself, my family and my career.”
Fialkov noted Luongo has been linked to the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season rumor mill. He claimed Panthers GM Dale Tallon has insisted he’s content with his current goaltenders (Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom), but hasn’t ruled out acquiring Luongo for the right price, provided it didn’t include one of the Panthers’ promising prospects.
Neither Theodore nor Clemmensen appeared worried about the possibility one of them will be moved to make room for Luongo.
Canucks GM Mike Gillis has repeatedly stated he’s in no hurry to move Luongo, suggesting the netminder could return to the Vancouver lineup this season if no suitable trade is found.
As Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province noted, Luongo has a no-trade clause, and while he might claim he won’t rule out other options, the goaltender holds the hammer on where he’ll end up.
The same can be said for Theodore, who also holds an NTC and might not be keen to move, be it to the Canucks in a potential return for Luongo or to another club in a separate deal.
If Luongo is determined to return to Florida, Gillis might have little option but to accept a lesser return from the Panthers. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun believes the Panthers’ last offer “was two players more likely for buyout,” though he declined to name them.
It could take a little creativity on Gillis’ part, perhaps involving a third team, if he hopes to get something worthwhile from a Luongo trade.
Given the looming threat of another NHL lockout, Luongo’s situation probably won’t be resolved until a new collective bargaining agreement is implemented.
BOSTON INTEREST IN KEITH YANDLE?
Ever since the Phoenix Coyotes fielded trade enquires for defenseman Keith Yandle at the June draft, he has frequently appeared in this summer’s rumor mill.
Though GM Don Maloney claimed he had no desire to move his good players (like Yandle), that hasn’t stopped the blueliner’s name from popping up in speculation.
The latest comes from Danny Picard of CSNNE.com, who cited an unnamed source “close to Yandle” claiming the Boston native “would love to play for the Bruins.”
Picard suggested Bruins center David Krejci, whose new three-year contract carries the same cap hit as Yandle’s ($5.25 million per season), is a logical trade chip.
It should be noted that Yandle hasn’t publicly stated he wants to play for the Bruins and even if he harbors that dream, Maloney doesn’t appear keen on moving him.
Indeed, while Maloney acknowledged he’d consider the trade route to improve his team, his comments in June regarding Yandle suggest the blueliner isn’t on the block.
Given the uncertainty over the sale of the Coyotes to prospective buyer Greg Jamison and with a lockout on the horizon, it’s unlikely Maloney will make any significant trades at this time.
As for Krejci, his inconsistency and new contract have fuelled speculation out of Boston since last season he could become a trade candidate, but if he is being shopped, that same baggage could also ensure he remains a Bruin.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.