Today is the NHL trade deadline, in which teams make last minute deals to trade for new players in a final push to the playoffs which begin in May. NHL insiders, hockey analysts, online casinos, and bookmakers all speculate that many teams want to improve their goaltending. As a result, bets are high that the most impressive trades will involve players on the back end instead of on the front lines.
One of the biggest goaltenders on the trading block is Roberto Luongo with the Vancouver Canucks. The 33-year old goaltender was the pride of Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and is one of the main reasons the Canucks became Stanley Cup contenders over the last several seasons.
But there is a difference between contender and champion. Luongo struggled to perform as the Canucks advanced through the playoff rounds, which often resulted in backup Cory Schneider filling in as the starting goalie. The Canucks management decided to make the switch permanent during the NHL lockout, and there was immediate talk that the team wanted to unload their veteran goalie.
However, Luongo is signed to a 10-year contract worth $100 million, and holds a no-trade clause that Vancouver must convince him to waive. In a league with a strict salary cap, many teams can’t afford a $10 million salary for one goalie, which limits the number of locations Luongo can realistically relocate. Sports bettors predicted the Toronto Maple Leafs, the most profitable team in the NHL and in need of a veteran presence in net, were interested in Luongo, but the netminder rejected the offer. Insiders suggest the goalie is interested in moving to Florida to join the Panthers.
Luongo is one of the biggest players up for trade, and would add invaluable experience to a young team that qualifies for the playoffs. Luongo’s future hangs in the balance until 3pm eastern time, when the trade deadline comes to an end.