Time for Luongo to Go

After seeing Joe Thornton traded away by the Boston Bruins, I think it is time for another big star, Florida Panther goalie, Roberto Luongo, to be moved as well.

Thornton was still productive as a Bruin. He was in the top 10 in scoring and still a threat. However, he certainly looked very disinterested. He was not a leader and he was a player basically going through the motions. This guy was a player who not only was skilled but played with an edge. He was hardly that with just 6 penalty minutes and rarely setting a physical tone to uplift his teammates.

I see the same thing in Luongo. There have been flashes of his brilliance. He had two shutouts in the first two games this season and in his last two starts prior to the game against Ottawa, he made 38 and 39 saves in back to back wins.

However, a game against the league’s best team should have brought out the best in the league’s top players. But what I saw was a disinterested player who did not want to be there. Luongo looked terrible on all the Sens goals. Perhaps it was an off night, however, there have been plenty of games like this one this season by Luongo. he has let in 4 or more goals in 8 games so far this season.

He looked like a player who gave up on his team. He didnt make any big saves, didnt bail his team out and after every goal glared at all his defencemen with an accusatory look.

He is a franchise type goalie and has much success on the international stage. However he has not acheived anything in the NHL and has yet to play a playoff game. He was in a bitter contract dispute this summer and will likely be at it again next summer as he goes to arbitration.

With the team struggling, it may be time for the Panthers to shake things up.

But with the salary cap hindering teams from spending during the year and with even fewer teams in need of a goalie, the market is not as large as it would have been had a player like Joe Thornton was on the open trade market.

I am sure there would be plenty on interest league wide however for a great player like Luongo. But where he goes is up to Mike Keenan. In all likelihood he wont trade him within the East, but we have seen Iron Mike do crazier things.

Here are some possibilities:

Colorado – GM Pierre Lacroix has ties to Luongo’s agent Gilles Lupien. If anyone can broker a deal from out of nowhere it’s Lacroix. Though David Aebischer has not been terrible, he hasnt been great either. The problem is that the Avs have little to offer. They do not have a plethora of prospects nor do they have the depth to part ways with a key player on their roster. They could put together a package like Aebischer, Alex Tanguay and a blueliner but really they cannot afford to move one of the few young stars they have.

Edmonton – Jussi Markanen has done a fine job as has unknown Mike Morrison. However, if they want to go anywhere, a top notch goalie is needed. Say what you will about the high flying Oilers of the 80s, but they were bailed out time and time again by Grant Fuhr. i think a player like Luongo is needed in their lineup. The team has the assets to move, plus some cap room to make it work.

St Louis – If the Panthers want to take Keith Tkachuk off the Blues hands then a deal could be made. The Blues also have some decent young D that could interest Florida. Plus they could reunite Jacques Martin with his former goalie in Ottawa, Patrick Lalime. That is where Lalime had most of his success. The Blues would certainly have to part with something else but like the deal between Boston and San Jose, two struggling teams could get together just to shake things up.

Vancouver – No believes Dan Cloutier can get the job done in Vancouver. Everyone feels the team needs goaltending help and what better than a guy like Luongo? The problem is the Canucks are maxed out cap wise and dont have alot to give up. They could move players like Jovanovski and or Bertuzzi but that would weaken them at other positions. They are a first place team now and may not want to mess around with things. But things could change come trade deadline time and perhaps Luongo could be their answer to their playoff woes.

It will be interesting to see how things develop between now and the trade deadline. The Panthers do have the opportunity to broker a contract extension with Luongo come January. But that will depend if the bridges between the Panthers and Luongo have been burned and no recourse is possible. In the end, Luongo will probably be traded because it simply may be the best thing for both parties.