Would Roberto Luongo want to join the Leafs?

Would Roberto Luongo want to join the Leafs?

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"Please don't ask me to go to Edmonton"

Amid all the speculation surrounding Roberto Luongo that’s starting to snowball, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, it seems as though one of the most overlooked parts of it all is the fact that he will have to waive his no-trade clause to where he wants to go.

Luongo stirred up the hockey world quite a bit yesterday by announcing that he would indeed allow the Canucks to trade him if that’s what their plan is. But he’s under no pressure to take a less-than-good situation at this point, and to think he’ll just go anywhere to help the Canucks out is false.

One club in desperate (and I mean, really desperate) need of a goaltender is the Tampa Bay Lightning. Others that would like to address their own situation between the pipes would of course be the Leafs, Blue Jackets, Devils, and then perhaps a couple others who will want to kick tires. I have doubts that the Jackets will be a situation Luongo wants to go in to, and the Devils are in a tough spot financially, with no real direction plotted out it seems.

I’m not sure if New Jersey would (or can) be serious about Roberto Luongo. With money trouble, Zach Parise to deal with, and the idea of replacing a retiring goaltender with another who will retire in only a few years, it doesn’t add up. For the Devils, looking to add a younger goaltender and long-term solution is probably the route to go. Cheaper, too.

So if we, for the most part, boil it down to the Lightning and Leafs (and keep in mind, this is obviously speculation at this point), what edge would Toronto have in luring “Lu” to play hockey there?

Now, I know there is a large section of Leafs supporters who believe targeting Luongo would be a huge mistake. But if continuing to lose for the next few years is your thing, keep clinging to that.

Burke should absolutely be in on Roberto Luongo, considering his numbers suggest he can bring this team in to the playoffs before we die of old age. As far as consistency goes, this guy hasn’t posted lower than a .913 sv% since 2000. Whether the Leafs‘ management can successfully bring him in to the fold is another story, and I’ll admit I have my doubts.

Luongo will look at a few things in determining where he wants to play next.

Market, team competitiveness, his place in the lineup, and I’m sure other personal reasons will all play in to his decisions. Another, perhaps overlooked, factor in this whole thing is whether his new team spends to the cap. As his contract runs on, a team like the Leafs (and this is a plus for the team, obviously) can bury him in the minors to shed his cap number, creating somewhat of a Redden situation. For a non-cap team, the possibility of this happening is reduced. It’s unlikely the Lightning, or a team like that, would see themselves in a situation where they need to rid themselves of his cap number to fit in other pieces. He could see this as a plus.

Currently the Lightning aren’t too far behind the Leafs in terms of cap space used, but the Leafs should always be a cap team, Tampa Bay not so much. With Roloson’s 3.5 million off the books this summer, and with St. Louis three seasons away from an expiring contract, they aren’t in rough shape. Where they are in rough shape is between the pipes. Somehow they’re in a worse goaltender situation than the Leafs. How this is even possible is beyond me.

Anyway, I doubt most Lightning fans are already looking at three or four years down the road to bury Luongo’s salary like us Leafs fans are. The Leafs, like the Rangers, can do that kind of thing and not give a damn about it.

Then there’s the media. I don’t want to spend many words on this, but it is something to be considered. A lot of times Roberto Luongo became a big story in Canada during his time with the Canucks. And he’s looked frustrated with it on more than occasion. Perhaps he’s due for a break, and Toronto isn’t the place to go for that.

Some have pointed out that the Nonis connection with the Leafs is a plus in terms of the team’s chances of acquiring Luongo. This is fair, and I’m not going to downplay it by any means.

How all of these things shift in to place for Luongo will obviously determine where he ends up. To say Toronto is a desirable destination for him to play is obviously debatable, but to say that it’s impossible he ends up there isn’t accurate either, I don’t think.

The team isn’t competitive, but Luongo can make them competitive. Toronto probably isn’t the best situation for him, but it isn’t terrible either.

It seems as though everyone has to pick a side on whether there’s a chance Luongo is in blue and white next season. A lot of media and bloggers will say “Sorry, this won’t happen. Simple.” Well actually it isn’t that simple. And it could happen – there are just a lot of things to consider.

I can’t pick a side. I just want the Leafs to get him and their goaltending to not be hilarious next season.

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