While Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis said on a Hockey Night in Canada radio interview that keeping both his goalies is a "distinct possibility" and Cory Schneider's agent said much the same thing, don't believe them. They're both faking.
Gillis, Luit seek same thing
If Gillis were to declare "yeah, one's going and it has to be Roberto Luongo" that would give rival GMs a ticket to play hardball. Knowing Luongo had to be traded, and he would absolutely have to be dealt if Gillis threw him under the hockey bus like that, would dramatically reduce their offers and make a deal harder to achieve. It would also begin a media circus.
And if former NHL goalie Mike Luit, Schneider's agent, said his client wouldn't stay in Vancouver if he had to share the crease with Luongo, that too would cause GMs to offer less. Instead, Luit just told the Province the Canucks bringing back both goalies next year "is definitely a possibility and probably the leading possibility." He wants his guy the number one in Vancouver and, in a backhanded way, was working to achieve that.
Trading Places: Luongo on outside
The deals that might be offered would be less likely to be acceptable to Gillis if GMs were to feel they could get the all-star, gold-medal winning goalie for less than he's worth. True, those serious in obtaining him would get around to understanding that a serious offer would be needed, but once it's begun Vancouver would prefer to have the process move as quickly as possible.
The 33-year-old Luongo's salary cap hit is $5.3 million, and for a goalie who finishes near the top of the league in goals against average and save percentage, who starts slowly but by November is stealing games, it's market value. He loves a heavy workload, meaning his team won't have to spend a king's ransom on a backup, and his contract's first year paid him $10 million in take-home pay, from here on in he never gets more than $6.7 million.
Some teams that might bid include: the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Brian Burke is desperate for a goalie to lead them to their first playoff berth since 2004, and save his job; Tampa, who had the worst goals against average in the 2012 NHL season and have veteran stars aging and younger players ready to succeed but lack goaltending; and the Chicago Blackhawks, another team spinning their wheels.
NHL: game within a game
To create a bidding war it becomes a game and everyone understands the process makes the two Mikes, Gillis and Luit, normally straight shooters, tell what amounts to lies. But it's all part of a time-honored tradition in the NHL, a game within the game that everyone knows is being played and where everyone plays their part. In this case the result will be Roberto Luongo in another uniform and one or more additions to the Vancouver Canucks.
Because no matter what Gillis or Luit say, that's what they're working for.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com