Roberto Luongo: The Latest Talk on Luongo Trade Rumors

Carol Schram@pool88Featured ColumnistAugust 14, 2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 17: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks keeps an eye on the puck after making a save against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period in NHL action on January 17, 2012 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

As we enter the second half of August, talk of an impending NHL lockout has muffled the chatter about a Roberto Luongo trade from the Vancouver Canucks to virtual silence.

On August 13, Gordon McIntyre of The Province mentioned the Luongo saga only in passing when pondering the Canucks' upcoming personnel decisions. Looking further down the road—which may not be that far if a prolonged lockout comes to pass—he's pondering the fates of Alex Edler and Alex Burrows. Each is key to the Canucks' core, and each is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season.

On August 7, The Province's Jim Jamieson stirred the pot by musing about whether Cristobal Huet was making himself available to Vancouver in the aftermath of a Luongo trade. InGoal magazine's Kevin Woodley confirmed on Twitter, via the French site L'Equipe, that Huet had talked with the Canucks and could be a fit due to his good relationship with goaltending coach Rollie Melanson:

Huet tells L'Equipe talked w/ Kings + Canucks. No surprise on latter if/when trade Luongo. good history w/ Melanson:

— Kevin Woodley (@KevinisInGoal) August 7, 2012

But all the hubbub was for naught, as it was confirmed on Saturday that Huet had signed a new four-year deal with Lausanne HC of the Swiss National B.

Dan Ellis has also expressed interest in Luongo's yet-to-be-vacated position. Back in July, he emailed Province reporter Ben Kuzma (yes, The Province has a lot of reporters who cover the Canucks all year round). Ellis let Kuzma know directly that he wanted the job:

“I would love to back up Cory if the spot becomes available,” Ellis said in the email. “Helping young goalies get to their full potential is fun to be a part of. Sometimes just lightening their load makes all the difference in the world.”

The Canucks' top goaltending prospect is 24-year-old Eddie Lack, who has performed strongly in the AHL over the past two seasons. He's currently a restricted free agent and hasn't re-signed yet with the Canucks, but that should be only a matter of time.

Some think Lack is ready for his shot in the big leagues, but it's generally believed that Cory Schneider should have a veteran presence behind him during his first full season as a starter.

That takes us full circle. Whenever the season starts, might Schneider's backup truly be...Luongo?

After the World Poker Tournament in Vegas in July, it's hard not to believe that the Twitter account @strombone1 is, in fact, Luongo's. The posts are definitely cheeky. Here's what he had to say on the matter on August 11, in reference to soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps' current issues in net:

At a $5.3 million cap hit and a $6.7 million salary, Luongo would certainly be a pricey backup. From Mike Gillis' most recent public statements, on local radio station Team 1040 with Matt Sekeres back on July 23, Gordon MacIntyre of The Province reported that the Canucks' GM is holding tight to his position that the solid relationship between Schneider and Luongo could enable them to start the season together. And Luongo might truly be okay with that.

The latest buzz is that Gillis is digging in until Florida GM Dale Tallon agrees to part with hulking young center Nick Bjugstad. Ben Kuzma points out that while Bjugstad is a quality prospect, he has at least another year of college and, as such, would not help fill the Canucks' immediate needs on the ice.

On the other hand, he also wouldn't need to be paid right away. If even part of 2012-13 ends up being written off, perhaps it does make sense to allow Bjugstad another year of quality development while the NHL sorts out its labor issues.

The way things are going, we might not see the Luongo situation resolved until the new CBA is signed, sealed and delivered. As a nod to the absurdity, let's leave the last word for @strombone1, with his suggestion on what David Booth should name his new pet pig:

Thanks for reading. I'm not quite so sharp with the bon mots, but you're welcome to follow me on Twitter, too.