Roberto Luongo's fit for Hogtown next season
Hockey Hall of Fame sports writer Jim Matheson believes Canuck will be a Maple Leaf puckstopper
Predictably, the Edmonton Oilers can't comment on any interest in acquiring Roberto Luongo - he still belongs to the Canucks - but I'm sure they're kicking some tires.
I can't fathom the Oilers being on his short list of teams (same with Columbus), though, and even if they were, I can't imagine the Canucks trading him to a rival where they would see him five or six times a season.
Here's how the Luongo situation conceivably will shake out: he'll have the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on his list of teams he'll play for and, in the end, it'll come down to the Leafs versus the Hawks. I think the Leafs get him.
Florida has a hotshot Swedish goalie Jakub Markstrom coming, and they aren't locking themselves into even six more years of his 12-year deal at $6.7-million salary per season. Tampa Bay already has Vincent Lecavalier on a deal that runs to 2020 ($10 million salary per year for four more seasons and $8.5 million in a fifth) and they might just target the younger, cheaper Jonathan Bernier (for one of their two first-round picks) or Pekka Rinne's backup Anders Lindback instead. That is unless the Calgary Flames make Miikka Kiprusoff available for the last two years of his deal.
Brian Burke loathes those long-term deals, but job security is also important to him in Toronto. Luongo could get the Leafs into the playoffs next year and that's added playoff revenue, not to mention merchandising, for his bosses.
Blackhawks president John McDonough likes making a splash, his club's treading water out in the first round the past two years and they've got two guys - Corey Crawford and Ray Emery - trying to be No. 1. The question is whether Vancouver has to eat somebody's contract (say Mike Komisarek) to move Luongo, they make a hockey trade (Luongo for, say, Luke Schenn) or they take virtually nothing back just to open up some cap room.
Maybe I'm losing my marbles, but why would the Boston Bruins think of trading Tim Thomas when he's only going to be making $3 million next year and Tuukka Rask isn't the slam dunk as a No. 1 goalie as Cory Schneider is for the Canucks.
What if Rask bombs next season and they have no fallback in Thomas, who might be 38 but still has some game left? Rask is 25 and he's played 102 NHL games with a 47-35-11 record, 13 more in the playoffs (7-6, 2.61 avg.). It's not like Rask, who has never played more than 45 games in a season, and Thomas were splitting duties this season before Rask injured his groin.
The outspoken Thomas has ruffled some feathers in Boston and as they were opining Thursday, he was using the word "they" in reference to his team-mates rather than "we" in quotes after Game 7. Maybe a slip of the tongue, maybe not.
Why not hold onto Thomas for one more year? What are they going to get in trade for a 38-year-old goalie anyway? The player the Bruins might consider moving is centre David Krejci, who had a mediocre play-off. They can move Tyler Seguin to centre as a tag-team with Patrice Bergeron with Nathan Horton out. Krejci could fetch them a top-four D-man or top-six winger.
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