June 13, 2011; Boston, MA, USA; Vancouver Canucks goalieRoberto Luongo
(1) talks with goalieCory Schneider
(35) after being relieved during the first period in game six of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Bruins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports
It has been 11 days since the CBA was ratified on the 12th of January, and many thought that Roberto Luongo would not be in a Vancouver Canucks uniform by now. Almost instantaneously, talk shifted from the NHL and the NHLPA to Luongo and his possible destinations.
Luongo will most likely be traded. It is hard to think that Vancouver that will keep both Luongo and Corey Schneider when they both would be a starter anywhere else in the league. Possible destinations for Roberto have included Florida, Toronto, and the Windy City. Chicago is always an option, because they have lacked a star since Antti Niemi stepped up in 09-10. Luongo could be of use on any team in the Northwest, but the Canucks would not want to face him 6 times a year. That makes teams in the East, and some teams in the West that were in need of a quality keeper, possible landing spots.
We all know Luongo is not a fit for the Canucks. But where would he be a fit?
It was undeniable last year that the Blackhawks goaltending was in rough shape, and at that time a Luongo trade would have made sense. No matter how you say it, Corey Crawford is not an elite goaltender in this league. He has the potential to become one, but he is far to inconsistent to be regarded as one just yet. Crawford’s play so far this year suggests that he has what it takes to be a starting goaltender, and that Luongo would not be needed in this organization. If Corey keeps up his level of play, we could see him lead the Blackhawks deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Ray Emery was shaky at best in Phoenix on Sunday night, so maybe a veteran presence to take some of the slack off of Crow is needed. However, Luongo is already trying to get out of that role, and no team can afford to spend that much money on him, for him to sit on the bench.
Chicago is still an option for Canucks GM Mike Gillis, albeit a long-shot. Will we see Luongo start between the pipes of another team this season? Perhaps even at the United Centre? Only time will tell.
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