Many rumours have popped up lately surrounding Roberto Luongo’s current situation with the Vancouver Canucks. One of the most popular is the “Luongo to Toronto” trade. This makes some sort of sense as Luongo has stated that he would agree to a trade to Toronto. The Maple Leafs need a veteran goalie, the Canucks need a second-line centre, and Luongo would like to remain in an Canadian market. The only things, it seems, that were standing in the way of the trade were the lockout and Brian Burke. Burke was strongly and publicly opposed to front-loaded contracts.
Before and during the lockout, there were rumours that the Canucks and Leafs already had trade worked out. However, it seemed highly unlikely since Burke was possibly the biggest supporter for contract limits and regulations around front-loaded contracts. Once the NHL announced that the lockout was over, many Canucks fans perked up and listened again for any sign of a Luongo trade. It seemed as though it wasn’t going to be with Toronto. Now with Burke out of the picture things look easier for the two teams to get a deal done. While new Toronto GM Dave Nonis worked under Burke for many years with several teams including the Vancouver Canucks, it doesn’t look like he has as much of a bias against front-loaded contracts as Burke. Not to mention he was the one who brought Luongo to Vancouver in the first place in a trade with the Florida Panthers in 2006.
Nonis seems more open to a trade. If he is to keep his job as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs he needs to fix the problem in the Toronto crease. And fast. A speedy trade would not only look good for Nonis, it would allow Luongo to start the season in Toronto and get to know the team. This is especially important with a shortened season as there is less time to prepare for the playoffs. If the Leafs have any hope of making the playoffs then they should make any changes as soon as possible. If Nonis makes this work, he will be the hero that saves the Toronto Maple Leafs from a repeat of their dismal lack of post season routine.
Writer and creator of Canuck Corner, a Vancouver Canucks based blog.