Will Leafs turn to Luongo trade now?

The world of goaltending options is closing in on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With Tomas Vokoun signed in Pittsburgh and Anders Lindback acquired by Tampa Bay, the list of available quality goalies has shrunk by two. And while there are many teams interested in inquiring about Los Angeles backup Jonathan Bernier, at this time the Kings prefer to maintain the status quo with Jonathan Quick as starter and Bernier behind him.

The pro-active trade Steve Yzerman made for Nashville’s Lindback hurts the Leafs in two different ways: 1) It removes a goalie they should have had interest in from the marketplace; 2) It provides one of their opponents in the Eastern Conference with potentially better goaltending than it has had in the past (and you know the Lightning, with Steven Stamkos, can score goals).

With Vokoun and Lindback scratched from the list of the available and the Kings’ Dean Lombardi saying “having only one quarterback is dangerous,” that leaves Roberto Luongo as their best goaltending option moving forward to this week’s NHL draft and trade meet. The good news with Luongo is it won’t cost much to get him. The bad news is it’s a long-term solution for the Leafs and if they still believe in James Reimer and, to a lesser extent, Ben Scrivens, then it isn’t an ideal situation for the development of a youngster.

While there are still run-of-the-mill free agents available such as Josh Harding, Scott Clemmensen and Chris Mason, there is nothing that would excite Maple Leafs fans here. Luongo remains the most viable option — and that’s not without its pitfalls.



22 Responses to Will Leafs turn to Luongo trade now?

  1. mojo19 says:

    I still say, you wait until after the buyout period and see what Boston decides to do with Thomas. If he’s available, you gotta make a play for him.

    Tim Thomas has won two of the last 3 Vezina trophies, is a year removed from a Stanley Cup, and Conn Smythe. Thomas is a classic late bloomer who didn’t really make it to the NHL until he was in his 30’s, similar to a Roloson, even an Ed Belfour or Dominic Hasek (both guys didn’t become starters until age 27 and 28). Rolly went to the conference final last year at age 42, so I don’t see why Thomas couldn’t deliver another 2-3 seasons of solid goaltending.

    Goaltending is a finicky position. Your hot one year, and then a couple years later you’re a back up, or out of the league. So I don’t see any point in going after anyone on a long term deal.

    Further more, several GM’s have indicated the possibility that the rules will change under the CBA about burying players in the minors, and taking their cap hits off the NHL roster. This is the biggest issue and they are almost certainly going to make adjustments in the new CBA. Picking up a guy with this many years left, and maybe only 1 or 2 good years left would be a huge mistake.

    Let’s take a look at Luongo’s playoffs in the last 2 years:

    2011 Round 1 vs Chicago:
    He was bad in this series. Vancouver relinquished the 3-0 series lead, and with the help of Schneider the Canucks snuck by. Luongo was letting in long shots, and kicking out brutal rebounds. The worst was the shot from the point in the 3rd, in which Luongo pouched out to the hashmarks with his blocker, then fell onto his stomach as the rebound was easily shot into the middle of the essentially empty net.

    Round 2 vs Nashville:
    This was by far the ugliest. Nashville couldn’t keep put with Vancouver at all, and yet the series went 6 games thanks to 2 goals from behind the net in separate games, both in the latter half of the third period. Luongo also surrendered a couple shots from the corner. I get that goalies get bored when they don’t face a lot of shots, but these goals were inexcusable.

    Round 3 vs San Jose:
    Luongo played really well in this series, proving that he has the ability to play well at times and turn it on. I have no problem with his goaltending in this series.

    Round 4 vs. Boston:
    Well, he started things off with a brilliant shut out effort, and then another clutch win at home, but then completely fell apart getting pulled in each of the next two games, and getting completely lit up in 8-1 and 4-0 losses. To his credit he bounced back with a good game at home, but was pulled again in game 6 with a 5-2 loss. He didn’t even make it to the midway point of the game. When you’re pulled 3 times in a 7 game series and lit up for so many bad goals, that’s just not acceptable. Vancouver was overall the better team but their goaltending let them down in a big way.

    2012 vs. LA:
    Well, he was just plain bad in this one, and he didn’t finish the series. The last two starts going to Schneider, and in those games the Canucks were right in it.

    I really don’t think it makes any sense to commit long term dollars to Luongo, who probably wouldn’t be good enough to get us into the playoffs next year. If you disagree, then I guess you think the Leafs squad is as good as the Canucks, that’s the only way I can rationalize that thought process.

    • Shoelesshobo says:

      You see I don’t blame Luongo at all for the LA series. I mean NO ONE came to play on Vancouver’s side this year and Lou got a lot of flack for that series. I mean it is hard to do a stellar job in goal when no one else is showing up to give you any support.

      • mojo19 says:

        I agree that the loss wasn’t Luongos fault, but the games were clearly a lot more competitive with Schneider in goal. I don’t think anyone would argue that. My analysis of Luongo is that he’s average. He can be great at times, and bad at at times, as avg goalies tend to do.

        • mojo19 says:

          The worst goal in that series came when the Kings had a 5 on 3, and the Canucks were doing a great job to keep the puck to the outside. Then I believe it was Richards who shot from a terrible angle and just beat Lu no problem.

          This is the issue, Luongo is really prone to surrendering those kinds of goals. That’s a big reason why midway through this past season there was already talk of Schneider taking over, Luongo just goes through too many stretches where he’s fighting the puck.

    • blaze says:

      Certainly some valid points mojo, but I take issue with the Boston series. Luongo takes the bulk of the blame yet Vancouver scored 8 goals in 7 games. That production is unacceptable. For long stretch the Canucks looked completely overwhelmed by Bostons physicality.

      Soft goals aside we know he is the best tender available. Perhaps a change of scenery will do him some good. Hard to say how many shots hell face under Carlyle but maybe hell improve with more volume.

      There is definite risk to that contract espcially wih the new CBA coming up. Would the Leafs pay that kind of money to buy that contract out should there be an amnesty clause? That would be amazing one year of Luo then see if Reimer or Scrivens can step up. Doubt the new owners will for out that many millions though for a player not to play. The new CBA could really make that contract dangerous.

      Who to go with though? If they can get Backstrom without selling the farm that would be great. I’d love to see Luongo get stuck in Van and watch Gillis squirm.

      • mojo19 says:

        That’s true, but still, when you’re pulled in 3 out of 7 games, that’s just bad. Maybe Boston did just overwhelm Vancouver altogether, though. You are probably right.

        Still, I just don’t like it, the cap hit doesn’t match the play. Now if Roberto were on a 2 or 3 year deal at the same money, I would consider it. But as of right now the only way I’d do it is if they throw a couple first rounders back and I doubt their keen to do that.

        Going for Backstrom might be a great solution in goal, but with Harding going UFA I wonder how true those rumours are. On the other hand, there’s lots of talk of Minnesota making a big splash and possibly going hard after Parise, maybe they could move Backstrom’s $6 mil and re-sign Harding for a lot less.

    • nordiques100 says:

      Toronto definitely needs a goalie of Luongo’s reputation and pedigree.

      He still has game, its just that contract that’s atrocious.

      While it’s all well and good to go with Reimer/Scrivens or just add a depth backup, with the way the Leafs sagged so badly last season, a confidence boost in goal is a must.

      How the team quit, well they need a true, number 1 guy to take the reins in goal. For BB, I dont know if he has much of a choice to stay status quo or try to wait and find the optimum solution.

      Luongo would make that difference I believe. I think he would come into next season with much to prove and he’s a pretty proud guy. I think he would really stabilize what is a fragile and weak Leaf team mentally.

      If nothing significant is given up (i.e none of their top prospects, or 1st round picks, or core young players) then, its worth the opportunity.

      I dont like Thomas. He is a flake. He won’t be bought out because if I am Boston, why give him the money and be held hostage by this player. I think truly he is going to take the time off. And I don’t feel he fits this team’s personality.

      • mojo19 says:

        Even if he is a flake he’s just so god damn good, how could you not want him if he’s made available? We need a guy with the pedigree of a Thomas. Luongo has a somewhat impressive resume (not compared to Tim, but by league standards) but he’s really slipped.

        I hear what you’re saying about having something to prove, and it might be a decent short term solution but he won’t get us into the playoffs.

  2. Ryrad8 says:

    Maybe the best option for the leafs is to get Sean Burke out of Phoenix. He’s been doing very well with the goaltenders. Yes the defensive style of the team helps, but the goalies held their own. Any thoughts?

    • mojo19 says:

      Ya Burke needs to realize that Allaire hasn’t worked out at all. Goalies have regressed under his coaching here. Maybe he’s just washed up.

      Sean Burke definitely got the most out of Bryz and Smith. Interesting thought. He could maybe be poached because if the uncertainty in Phoenix.

      • reinjosh says:

        He’s not washed up, he just doesn’t have the ability to tell his goalies to wear enormous padding anymore. He’s a coach that teaches a goalie to get your body in the way of the puck. I just don’t think it’s a type of goalie coaching that can work anymore.

  3. Schneidfeld says:

    Forgive me if I’m missing something, but why is Thomas name continuously coming up when he’s said he’s not playing this season? Has there been some sort of report that he’s just doing this as a tactic to get out of Boston? Just curious.

    IF Thomas were available, and all his talk of a year off is just talk, he’d be my preferred option (over Luongo), just due to his contract.

    That said, I think Luongo is still a viable option. Very few teams are going to be willing to take on that contract, which gives leverage to any team willing to take the risk. If the Canucks were willing to take back Komisarek, that takes a lot of the sting out of the cap hit. I get that there’s a lot of pressure playing in TO, but it’ll be a different kind of pressure, with different expectations. In Vancouver, despite many successful seasons, every year they failed to win the cup was viewed (by the fans/media) as a failure. In TO, if he could add stability in goal & get them into the playoffs, success! The likelihood of him retiring before his contract actually expires also lessens the risk, as I’d imagine that despite what happens with a new CBA, contracts made prior to it’s implementation would likley be “grandfathered” in. No?

    • mojo19 says:

      Good post. I know Luongo is a solid goalie, just don’t believe he’s the 2nd coming of Cujo or Eddie. Not a fan, but I used to be.

      As for Thomas, its all speculative, but many believe he’s upset with Boston ownership and management. He won the Vezina in ’09 and was disappointed to lose his starter status to Rask in 2010, then got it back in 2011 and won again, plus the Cup and Conn Smythe (just think, if they woulda played him he might’ve won 3 consecutive Vezinas). The following year he was the subject of trade talk again, despite winning everything he could. Thomas is understandably upset with the team, and the rumours stem from there.

      His no trade clause is lifted July 1, by announcing he’s not playing he takes the leverage out of Bostons hand.

      Also, because his contract was front loaded he’s been almost paid up. He’s walking away from $3 million, which the Behind won’t have to pay him. The B’s will however be on the hook for his full $5 mil cap hit, even
      if he doesn’t play. But ti buy him out would only cost $2 mil, which could be spread out over 2 yrs ($1/$1).

      Time will tell if he plays or not, but he will not play in Boston.

  4. Schneidfeld says:

    Was just reading HockeyBuzz, Eklund (I know, I know lol) is reporting that a source swears to him that Luongo will be moved prior to draft day and will be a Leaf.

    Things to consider (so many…):

    Komi has 2 years remaining @ 4.5 mil
    Lombardi is in his final year @ 3.5 mil
    Armstrong is in his last yaer @ 3 mil
    (of these 3, I’d like to retain Armstrong if possible, least costly, most upside)

    Other things to consider

    Kulimen is RFA this summer, coming off a bad season. Made 2.35 mil per year on last contract. Will Burkie give him a chance, or will he be gone? Could be another way of saving some cap space if his spot can be filled with a young player (Kadri, Frattin, etc.)

    If Komi is moved, plus the unknown fate of Franson, could be a means of creating a roster spot for Shultz. Double bonus of freeing up capspace & gaining a young, promising Dman to play with Gardiner down the road. Again, freeing up funds that could be used to sign another good player.


    • Shoelesshobo says:

      Kulemen will be resigned. He is the type of players we want in Carlye’s system and with his goob buddy Grabovski locked up for a nice few years I see him resigning for a good number. People seem to forget that while he never scored much he was on of our best 2 way forwards.

      • Steven_Leafs0 says:

        I agree Kulemin is staying, it wont be a huge contract since Kulemin’s value is down, probably 2 years 5.5M give or take $0.5M.

        • Schneidfeld says:

          Man, if you’re right & he gets a $500 000 per season raise for dropping his production by more than 50% last season, I’m DEFINITELY trying this at work myself lol! ; )

          • Steven_Leafs0 says:

            thing is he didn’t sign his contract after his breakout season, if he did he would have cost us 4M+. He will get a small raise from his last contract for sure. No way he gets payed $2M a season or less.

            • Schneidfeld says:

              Fair enough, he’s only 26, as long as we don’t overpay (no more than what you’ve mentioned, 2.25-2.75 per season) I’d be ok with having him back, preferably on a shorter contract, again as you mentioned (2 years), in case his slump year becomes his norm.

              • JoelLeafs says:

                He’s an RFA, he has to be offered a minimum of 100% of his previous contract’s worth. If the leafs want to lock him up for more than a year or two, they will need to give some kind of raise.

  5. Schneidfeld says:

    Agreed, but he still had a serious slump year last season, his worst since entering the league. Don’t get me wrong, don’t hate the guy or WANT to see him go, just think it’s something that will be considered. Usually you see players excel in the final year of a contract, whereas Kuli’s previously impressive game completely fell apart. I certainly don’t see him getting any sort of raise, and hope that it’s a short term offer (1 or 2 years).


    2010-2011 30 Goals, 27 Assists, 57 Points, +7 +/- Rating
    2011-2012 7 goals, 21 Assists, 28 Points, +2 +/- Rating

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