Toronto only logical destination for Roberto Luongo
While Josh Harding may not be a well-known puckstopper, or one of particular note, heís likely to come close to splitting the workload in Minnesota this season with Nicklas Backstrom, and so the Wild have locked him up with a three-year deal.
Harding, along with Anders Lindback, Cory Schneider and Jonathan Bernier, was viewed as a young backup netminder who might be able to become a starter elsewhere. Now Harding is signed, Lindback has been traded to Tampa, Bernier may stay in L.A. for the time being until Jonathan Quick is locked up long term and Schneider, most believe, will be the unchallenged as the No. 1 goalie of the Vancouver Canucks when the next NHL season begins.
If there were a plethora of teams anxious to upgrade in goal, that would create a nice situation for Canucks GM Mike Gillis in his efforts to move veteran goaler Roberto Luongo and his ridiculous contract, which still has 10 years left to run.
Except there arenít many teams looking to upgrade. Indeed, unless Ondrej Pavelec flees to the KHL and leaves the Winnipeg Jets in the lurch, only two teams seem to be seriously prowling for a starter in the crease, the Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Even then, the money-losing Blue Jackets arenít likely to be interested in Luongo and his massive contract, while Luongo, with a no-movement clause he can still exercise, isnít likely to be too excited about Columbus.
Which leaves the Leafs as the only destination. Chicago? Most GMs donít think the Hawks are looking, and why would the Canucks move Luongo to a conference rival? Florida? They have Jose Theodore and hot prospect Jacob Markstrom, and dicey ownership in south Florida makes it unlikely the Panthers would want to absorb that contract with $46.8 million still to pay, including $40.3 million cash in the next six years.
If Luongo were, say, like Backstrom with only one year left at $6 million on his contract, this would be an entirely different situation.
But thatís not the case. Moreover, the Leafs are interested, thatís clear, but not wildly so. Certainly not wildly enough to give up quality players or prospects to get him and take on that contract, just as they had no interest in shipping Luke Schenn or Jake Gardiner to the Oilers to get the No. 1 pick in Fridayís entry draft.