With the April 3 trade deadline looming and Canucks GM Mike Gillis admitting that keeping both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider isn’t the most efficient use of the team’s cap space, it looks like Vancouver and Toronto are once again exploring the possibility of a Luongo trade, according to the Toronto Star.
Things are different since reports of trade talks between these two teams surfaced over the summer. Toronto Maple Leafs netminder James Reimer has bounced back from his rough sophomore campaign and his understudy, 26-year-old Ben Scrivens, has also held his own.
Leafs GM Dave Nonis is still interested in adding a veteran goaltender before the playoffs, but Luongo isn’t just an insurance policy, he’s a franchise changing acquisition. Getting him means accepting the fact that the 33-year-old will consume $5,333,333 in cap space annually through the 2021-22 campaign.
In other words, adding Luongo effectively ends Reimer’s chances of becoming the Leafs’ permanent starting netminder.
At the same time, Gillis isn’t thought to be seeking either of the Leafs top young players, Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner, anymore. 27-year-old center Tyler Bozak, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, remains linked to the talks.
The Leafs might ultimately decide to pursue with a more short-term solution, like Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. If they do, the Canucks keep their all-star tandem intact through the playoffs and then look to trade Luongo again over the summer.