NHL Trade Talk: Should Roberto Luongo Waive No-Trade Clause to Leave Canucks?

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2013

Jan 20, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo (1) during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena.  The Edmonton Oilers won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Through the first quarter of the 2013 NHL season, Roberto Luongo is still a member of the Vancouver Canucks, and he has been the team's best goaltender thus far.

He will likely be centered around rumors and speculation in the weeks and days leading up to the April 3 trade deadline, but there is one interesting situation to think about moving forward, and Luongo was asked about it during CBC's After Hours program following the Canucks' victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night (watch the full interview below).

Scott Oake brought up a hypothetical situation in which the Canucks are one of the best teams in the NHL and Mike Gillis tells his veteran goalie that he's worked out a deal with another team.

If that situation ever becomes reality, should Luongo waive the no-trade clause (NTC) in his contract and leave Vancouver, or stay and have another shot at winning a championship with the Canucks?

Luongo's best option is to not waive his no-trade and attempt to win the Stanley Cup with the Canucks this season, which could help him in a number of ways.

If he were to win the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, or even prove that he's capable of excelling in the playoffs by winning a few rounds and not being the reason that the team came up short, interest in him from teams around the league could go up in the summer, and the Canucks may have an easier time getting equal value in return for him if he's traded.

The Florida Panthers, who have been rumored to be one team that Luongo wouldn't mind going to, seem unwilling to part with the assets that Canucks general manager Mike Gillis would like from them in exchange for Luongo.

If Luongo doesn't want to go to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Panthers don't satisfy the Canucks' demands, where is he going to go?

Washington could be one destination for Luongo because of the Capitals' goaltending woes in the early part of the season, but why would he waive his NTC to join the Capitals when they are not close to being a legitimate Cup contender even with him on the roster?

The Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks also entered this season as possible destinations for Luongo, but with Ilya Bryzgalov and Corey Crawford having bounce-back seasons, don't expect the Canucks star to play for one of these teams anytime soon.

It's hard to imagine there being a large market for a player with nine years left on his contract that also includes a $5.3 million cap hit, not to mention the fact that he has a long history of playoff failures.

The best way for the Canucks to expand the market and stir up some more interest in Luongo is to keep him for the rest of the season and hope that he shines in the playoffs.

If he wins a championship, all of a sudden that gigantic contract might not look so bad to a few general managers that need to upgrade their team's goaltending in the offseason.

Even after a good start to the season, teams know what they would be getting with Luongo if they traded for him, and that's an elite regular-season goaltender who has been unable to lead talented teams to a championship. If he could change all that by winning a championship, Luongo's value on the trade market might rise significantly.

The most logical decision for Luongo is to remain in Vancouver this season and prove that he can win in the playoffs, which may give him more options in the summer if the Canucks decide to trade him.


Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.