It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to connect Roberto Luongo to the Edmonton Oilers.
The injury-depleted Vancouver Canucks desperately need a Top 6 forward. They are eager to move Luongo and his massive contract. Their other goaltender, Cory Schneider, just threw a 5-0 shutout in Anaheim.
The Oilers have lots of second- and third-line forward options, including Sam Gagner. As luck would have it, Sam’s father Dave works for the Canucks.
With 900-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin still sideline by hip problems, Edmonton is leaning heavily on young Devan Dubnyk – who recently allowed six goals in one period against the San Jose Sharks.
Khabibulin’s $3.75 million contract comes off the books after this season, so the Oilers could theoretically absorb Luongo’s salary of $6.7 million.
But here are the reasons why the deal would not make sense:
- Dubnyk showed resolve by bouncing back from his disastrous game against the Sharks by beating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in overtime, stopping 30 of 31 shots. “After a game like that, it’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re trying to have a bounce-back game,” Dubnyk told the Edmonton Journal. “I just wanted to go out and have a good game and get back to doing the right things. We all did.”
- Dubynk got better as last season progressed, allowing just 2.04 goals against average during his last 13 games while posting a .933 save percentage. His appearances have increased in each of his NHL seasons while his GAA has gone down. “He proved to us at the end of last year that he could shoulder the load,” Gagner told the Journal. “Obviously, it’s a different animal having the mentality of a starter, but he seems to be handling it well. He wants to be the guy every night.”
- Luongo’s contract runs until 2022, giving it an average salary cap hit of $5.33 million. Why would an emerging team commit so many dollars to a 33-year-old goaltender racing toward his twilight years?
- Canucks general manager Mike Gillis seems willing to trade Luongo within the Western Conference, but would Vancouver really want boost Edmonton into playoff contention? This side of the NHL is competitive enough as it is.
Vancouver needs to move Luongo, for sure, but this deal doesn’t make a lot of sense.