Four reasons why Flyers would consider Luongo
The overwhelming question is why would the Flyers even remotely explore the possibility? Here’s why:
Upgrading the position
Holmgren has shown that if he can improve his team at a certain position, then it’s worth the effort. As much as Luongo has been scrutinized since the Canucks lost Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to the Bruins, he’s been consistently better than Bryzgalov, especially in the postseason as their career numbers indicate: Luongo (32-29, 2.53 GAA, .916 percent) and Bryzgalov (17-19, 2.81 GAA, .908 percent).
An attractive option if Bryzgalov returns to “The Woods.” Each team will be allowed two buyouts over the next two summers.
The Flyers, who owe Bryzgalov $34.5 million after this season, can buy out the remainder of his deal at just over two-thirds the price tag ($23 million), and that is money that doesn’t count against the salary cap.
If Bryz leads the Flyers to a Stanley Cup, or quite possibly to the Cup Final, then the Flyers can maintain their commitment to Bryzgalov for another season, and then revisit a buyout during the summer of 2014. However, the Flyers wouldn’t buyout Bryz if they didn’t have a Plan B in place.
The new “Luongo Rule”
Teams who signed players to massive front-loaded deals would be penalized if that player retires before the end of the deal. For example, if Richards or Carter retire before their contracts expire, the Flyers would be slapped with a significant cap hit for the remaining years.
The slight advantage in trading for Luongo is the Flyers would be tagged with a portion of his deal that runs through 2022 in the event of early retirement, whereas if Bryzgalov retired, they would take on the full amount.
Failure to bolster the defense
Had the Predators failed to match the Flyers’ offer sheet for Weber, the subject of Luongo likely would never surface. With Kimmo Timonen in the final year of his contract, coupled with the loss of Chris Pronger, the Flyers can’t feel too comfortable with their defense moving forward.