There’s no guarantee the Vancouver Canucks will trade, or be able to trade, Roberto Luongo this summer. However, if it happens, here are 10 reasons why Tampa Bay makes sense as a destination.
1. The Lightning are desperate for a goalie. We saw in the Jeff Carter trade to Los Angeles that desperation (the Kings badly needed scoring) can persuade teams to take risks they normally wouldn’t.
2. Tampa Bay isn’t exactly in “Stanley Cup or bust” territory, but the window on Martin St. Louis’ career is closing. He’ll turn 37 in June.
3. As Elliotte Friedman points out, management will often take on salary if it feels the player can deliver additional playoff revenue. And if the Lightning had had better goaltending this season, They might not have missed the playoffs. The capacity of the Tampa Bay Times Forum is around 19,000. Supposing the average ticket price for a postseason game is $50, that’s around a million bucks in ticket revenue per game.
4. The Lightning have the cap space to absorb Luongo’s $5.3 million hit. Dwayne Roloson ($3.5 million) will be off the books next season, and the Canucks could take back salary in return.
5. Vancouver GM Mike Gillis said Tuesday he wants to make his team “bigger and stronger.” Rumors of the Canucks pursuing Lightning forward Ryan Malone have popped up before.
6. In 2010, Luongo won a gold medal for Team Canada – a team that was put together by current Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
7. Luongo’s wife, Gina, is from Florida and they have two young children together. Remember, the Canucks can’t trade Luongo anywhere they want – he’s got a no-movement clause which he’ll have to waive first. The Panthers also make sense if family is a significant factor; however, they’ve got top prospect Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings.
8. Luongo would be the undisputed starter on the Lightning. There’s no blue-chipper like Cory Schneider in the system. (Which is another reason Yzerman might be interested.)
9. If Luongo’s sick of the media and fan attention he gets in Vancouver, Tampa Bay would offer a welcome respite.
10. Tampa Bay would provide Luongo a better chance to win than Columbus or Toronto, two other teams that need goaltending.