The latest report from the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox suggests the Vancouver Canucks are looking at Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak in a possible trade for goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province reports the Leafs offered up defenceman Luke Schenn for Luongo at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, but the Canucks countered “asking for Jake Gardiner-plus-plus-plus.”
According to Cox, the Canucks asked for Gardiner, Bozak, winger Matt Frattin, and a first round pick. The Leafs declined the offer believing there is no marketplace for the goaltender at that kind of a price.
Talks have continued “on and off” between the two teams with Bozak as the centrepiece. Cox says the Canucks believe Bozak would be a “good fit” for the third-line centre position behind Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler. He believes the Leafs are willing to part with more than Bozak to acquire Luongo.
This news comes after Mike Gillis appeared on the TEAM 1040 to dispel rumours the Canucks were close to trading Luongo to the Leafs.
Given the news that centre Ryan Kesler will be sidelined until January after having shoulder and wrist surgeries, Bozak would be ideal for the second-line centre position. He centred the Leafs top line with Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel last season.
Many fans have penciled in prospect Jordan Schroeder to take the centre position in Kesler’s absence, but Schroeder is an unproven commodity as he has yet to make his NHL debut. The Canucks had planned to get him into a game or two down the stretch last season, but salary cap and roster restrictions prevented the club from doing so.
Bozak, last year with the Leafs, ranked fourth in points with 18 goals and 29 assists and was the team’s top right-handed faceoff man taking over 1000 draws.
The Roberto Luongo trade rumours got started up again earlier in the week when Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer skated with the locked out Canucks at the University of British Columbia. Reimer was only in town to visit his in-laws, but that was enough to set Twitter ablaze and to get the media’s attention.