Whether Edmonton Oilers fans get excited or not about the rumors circulating that Roberto Luongo is on the club’s radar and could be the sleeper team in acquiring the netminder, it’s probably best not to get your hopes up. Previously here at Too Many Men on the Site we looked at some of the rumors that the Oilers could be the team that Mike Gillis was referring to when he said he had a deal in place with a team. The player heading to Vancouver is said to be Sam Gagner along with a prospect or draft pick.
But yesterday, Mark Spector from Sportsnet wrote a piece depicting whether or not Luongo would fit with the Oilers and he makes many excellent points as to why Bobby Lou is unlikely to end up in Edmonton.
Spector is quick to remind us that when Luongo was seemingly chased out of town last spring thanks to his meltdown in the playoffs, it became known that he wanted to return to Florida and play for the Panthers again. Why not play in sunny Florida where the weather is just a bit nicer than norther Alberta (just a hint of sarcasm in case you missed it). A Florida winter versus an Edmonton winter for the next ten years? Do we really have to choose?
Remember, Luongo does have a full, no-trade clause which he could invoke and veto a deal to Edmonton, if the two clubs agreed to a trade. Spector refers to it as a no Edmonton clause.
One could argue that the Oilers look promising and with Luongo would speed up the rebuilding immensely. But does Luongo care about winning when he’s going to make millions for the next ten years, whether it be in Edmonton or Florida? He has always come across as that guy that just doesn’t seem to give a rats bottom if his name is on the cup or not. Afterall, he did say he’d like to return to Florida, who, do have a nice crop of young players but are likely behind the Oilers in the rebuilding department.
The other important point that Spector brings up is, whether Gillis would want to deal Luongo to not only a conference foe, but a divisional opponent. Chances are slim and rightfully so when looking at it from the Canucks point of view.
Luongo is, don’t forget, still one of the best goaltenders in the league. His reputation has taken a beating because of his stumbles when it matters most – the playoffs. But don’t lose sight that this is a guy who can steal a game on any given night during the season, something the Oilers don’t have right now. Do the Canucks really want to take that chance, knowing that for the next decade the Roberto Luongo led Oilers will be coming to town with a better than average chance they’ll leave with a valuable two points? Not likely.
There is an old saying in hockey that a divisional game is a “four-point” game and giving Luongo to a divisional team just decreased the Canucks chances of staying on top of the Northwest.
Then there is the salary cap next year and with Luongo’s bloated salary, the Oilers would be near the maximum. Not to mention they’ll have other holes to fill, ie: blue line help. If Tuesday’s home opener is a sign of things to come, then the Oilers will need help on the back end a lot sooner than they need a Luongo type netminder. The defense were awful and multiple times, caught chasing the puck. It’s like they were mesmerized by the names on the back of the Sharks jerseys.
Spector goes on to talk about whether the Oilers should be so quick to write off Devan Dubnyk, stating the club won’t compete for the Cup this year or next for that matter. Wayne Gretzky recently went on Hockey Night in Canada Radio and said that the Oilers need to be patient with their developing players, all but reinforcing what Spector wrote.
But are the Oilers just a Luongo and a top two d-man away from making that next step, getting into the playoffs and becoming a legitimate threat? That’s a debate for another day. For now, it doesn’t look promising that Roberto Luongo will be pulling an Oilers jersey over his head anytime soon. Then again, the game of hockey has taught us to expect the unexpected. I just don’t see it happening this time though.
Tell us your thoughts about where you think Luongo will end up.
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