Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has not announced the team is looking to trade goaltender Roberto Luongo, but it has been widely assumed that it will eventually happen.
Trade rumours have linked Luongo to the Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. John Shannon even suggested last month that the Canucks have a trade completed with the Leafs that will happen once the lockout ends.
However, Sportsnet hockey analyst John Garrett believes Luongo could remain a Canuck when the season starts.
“With the shortened season, with the prospect that you got to get right into it and if you play 60 games or less,” Garrett explained. “I don’t think teams will take that chance right away.
“They will go with what they got to start with. Maybe a deal after ten games will come along, but I think Roberto Luongo will be a Canuck to start the season.”
A shortened season will produce a more condense schedule and increase the likelihood of injury. This is especially true for a team like the Canucks who over the course of a National Hockey League season travel more than any other team.
While his Canucks future has been in limbo since April, Luongo has said the right things to the media and has not “burned any bridges” by any stretch of the imagination, so a return to Vancouver is not out of the possibilities.
The question is will Luongo want to return and will the team want him?
A shortened season without a doubt represents the best opportunity for the Canucks to win a Stanley Cup as in years past, the Canucks have been beaten and battered as they entered the playoffs.
Luongo would be a great insurance policy for the team in case Cory Schneider sustains an injury. Holding onto Luongo will also give the Canucks an opportunity to drive up his market value like they did with Cody Hodgson last season.