Roberto Luongo has HORRIBLE Trade Value

The Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending controversy will be resolved this summer, and it’s looking increasingly likely that Roberto Luongo will be traded, and Cory Schneider will become the full-time starter.

When the Canucks were eliminated by the Kings on Sunday it was unclear how this situation would resolve itself because they had already made a long-term financial commitment to Roberto Luongo. The 33-year old is signed until 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5.33 million dollars. However, by playing Cory Schneider for the final three games of their series against the Kings, Vancouver made a statement that he is their guy.

So, the question becomes what can Vancouver get for Roberto Luongo. The answer should be, not much.

At this time last summer there were a lot of teams looking for a starting goalie. Phoenix signed Mike Smith, Washington signed Tomas Vokoun, Ottawa re-signed Craig Anderson, St. Louis signed Brian Elliott, Florida signed Jose Theodore, and Colorado traded for Semyon Varlamov. There was a lot of movement, and there was a market for a starting goaltender. Realistically when you look around the landscape of the NHL this summer, the only teams that should be looking for a goalie are Toronto, Tampa Bay, Edmonton, and Columbus.

scores against Luongo

(Icon SMI)

Now which of those four teams wants a 33-year old goalie with questionable mental toughness, a contract that runs for another decade, and an actual salary of $6.7 million for the next six years?

Another issue working against the Canucks is the fact that great goaltenders have been coming out of thin air lately. Who knew Brian Elliott would be so good? Who expected Mike Smith to be this amazing? Even Jose Theodore had a great year, and he’s only making $1.5 million for the next 2 seasons.

Vancouver will also have to contend with the fact that there will be other goaltending options on the market. There are rumours that Calgary may be willing to deal Mikka Kiprusoff. In Los Angeles, Jonathan Bernier could be up for grabs after Jonathan Quick’s Vezina Trophy calibre season. In Buffalo, Jonas Enroth may be available, and in Nashville, Anders Lindback may also be on the market. If you are a young team like Toronto, Tampa Bay, or Edmonton, wouldn’t it make more sense to acquire a young goaltender that could grow with your current roster rather than an aging contractual albatross like Luongo?

Another point worth consideration is that there is no market precedent for trading a starting goalie. Good starting goalies don’t get traded. When the Flames acquired Kiprusoff no one knew he was so good. Craig Anderson was considered a fringe starter when Ottawa acquired him. The last legitimate number one goalie to be traded was Roberto Luongo himself, when he was dealt from Florida to Vancouver in 2006.

The biggest mistake a team could make this summer is to over-value Luongo’s worth on the open market. We saw it happen back in 2009 when the Montreal Canadiens acquired Scott Gomez from the Rangers for a package that included Ryan McDonagh. At the time, Montreal had a ton of cap space and Rangers General Manager Glen Sather dumped his problem in Pierre Gauthier’s lap. Montreal should have received a blue chip prospect for taking care of the Ranger’s problem, instead, Pierre Gauthier inexplicably traded a prospect to acquire a player that New York was desperate to move. Given this ridiculous trade, it’s no surprise that Gauthier is no longer employed by the Canadiens.

The Gomez trade is a classic example of how mistakes are made in the NHL. Good teams manage their cap well, they don’t throw off their internal pay scale by signing or trading for over-priced veterans, and they keep and develop their prospects. Any GM that is entertaining the notion of trading for Luongo should take a long look at the market and recognize that Vancouver has no leverage in this situation.

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Tom Yawney

Tom Yawney

Digital Media Strategist at CanEye Media
I'm a digital media strategist with CanEye Media. I help businesses build and establish their brand through internet marketing. I also blog regularly for Canada's Best Sports Blog - Unsportsmanlike.ca
Tom Yawney

14 Comments

  1. I don’t quite get the logic in this argument. It only takes two teams to enter a bidding war, and who could argue that both Tampa and Toronto would have made the playoffs if they had a goalie of Luongo’s calibre? That is a lot of lost revenue for both clubs, especially in the case of Toronto just one round of playoff action would certainly pay for Luongo’s services. Lou won a gold medal for Steve Yzerman, Burkes assistant Nonis traded for Luongo once already, and Toronto’s goalie coach Jaques Allaire would have nothing but good things to say about his star protege. 

  2. Being pulled 4 times and benched once on the way to a Stanley Cup Playoff loss doesn’t put you in the company of Martin Broduer and Patrick Roy, it puts you in the company of Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton

  3. I’m not thinking his trade value is that horrible for several reasons.

    1) The cap hit may seem high, but its less than a number of other goalies. Bryzgalov signed for higher. Due to the length of the contract the value lowers significantly over the years. If the salary cap keeps going up by the same percentage  per year as it has since the lockout, by the time he hits 39 (not bad by goalie standards, Kiprisoff and Thomas are 36/38 and are decent) his effective salary cap hit in todays dollars is 3M, a pittance for a netminder.

    2) Length of contract. Not an issue as generally goalies play well into their very late 30′s or longer, and no one expects him to honor the last few years of the contract as it is.

    3) He may not be a top 5 goalie, but his numbers and accomplishments are easily better than half the leagues goaltenders. .913 is his worst save percentage ever (and not this seasons), and that better than a good number of the starting goalies in the league.

    No one is suggesting Luongo gets traded to a team looking for the final piece of a Stanley Cup puzzle (a la Patrick Roy), but he can make a team that has very shaky goal tending look an awful lot better than what they had, and the price will likely not be too significant.

    • His cap hit may be $5.3 mill but how many teams want to swallow his actual salary of $6.7 million. It’s a big ticket for a 33-year old signed for another decade.

  4. Gainey traded for Gomez not Gauthier

  5. Relative to the rest of the goalies in the league, he is very very ordinary. Especially when it matters most. (Enough with the gold medal already). And his contract is very very onerous. Not worth much. Especially since Phil Esposito and Mike Milbury aren’t running teams anymore.

    • Ok enough with the gold medal game. How about back to back president trophies. How about coming within one game of the cup. But your right all the goalies in the NHL have done that. Hes ordinary. Your brilliant.

      • Your arguments are all team accomplishments not personal accomplishments. What happened in every game in Boston last year during the Finals? Luongo allowed deflating goals and couldn’t make a save when his team needed it. It was pretty clear that he was completely rattled and he couldn’t regain himself.

        The same thing happened in ’90 and in 2010 against the Blackhawks. They got in his head and he couldn’t make a save.

    • haha, good point.

  6. I still think someone is going to bite on Luongo and give up a good package. I agree that the situation is not ideal and trade partners are not obvious yet, but there are a few teams that still might look at Luongo and say ‘let’s take a risk and build around this guy’. 

    For a long time Roberto was the most over-rated goaltender in the league, I get the feeling right now that he might actually be the most under-rated now.

  7. Agreed Tom. Just a year ago Luongo came within one game of winning it all and a Conn Smythe trophy. He is not getting kicked out of Vancouver because he is a poor goalie or good teammate. It just so happens that the Canucks have a young goalie who can now fill the bill. Just because Elliot had a good season does not mean it’s easy to find a great goalie. Let’s see how Elliot does next year. Teams like Toronto would give their right arm for some stability in net. And it’s my guess that one of those teams will do just that. Canucks are sitting pretty…

  8. Luongo trade value not as horrible as author might suggest. Yes contract term ix very long, but cap hit of only 5.3 million is not that bad. Remember this goalie is a proven goalie. Won Gold at Olympics made it to Stanley Cup finals, Past Vezna nominee, and  has 60 career shut outs, Luongo is a very good goalie. To say Luongo’s trade value is horrible is a little biased if you asked me, and I am not a Canucks Fan. Luongo is a great goalie who played on a team that does not play a shut-down defence style game or trap type game like some other teams.
    Nice try Tom Yawney, better writing next time.

    • If you read the article you’d know that Luongo having horrible trade value isn’t necessarily a reflection on his ability to stop pucks, there just isn’t much of a market for him.

      I could see Columbus making a play for him because they need some stability that he could provide, but would he actually go there? He does have a limited no trade. I’m sure Luongo will get traded, but Vancouver won’t get a great package. I think if the Canucks got Ryan Malone from Tampa that would be good value for Vancouver. Similar cap hit but Malone has short term, and he would provide some toughness that the Canucks need.

  9. Just a note, Gainey traded for Gomez, not Gauthier.

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