For more than a full year now, Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has been trying to move Roberto Luongo and the baggage of his 12-year, $64 million contract.
Could this be the weekend it finally happens?
The Canucks acquired Luongo at the 2006 NHL Draft, and the team will now try to deal him at this year’s draft, a little more than seven full years since he officially began what was a sometimes tumultuous but often successful time in Vancouver.
“We’re going to try and accomplish that goal,” Gillis told the Canadian Press this week. “We’ll see what happens.”
Luongo, now 34 years of age, first appeared destined to be traded when Cory Schneider took over the starting netminder job in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, which amounted to a first-round defeat for the Canucks at the hands of the L.A. Kings.
Instead, Luongo remained in Vancouver.
Gillis and the Canucks were unable to deal him during last year’s off-season, and again at training camp in January, then during the regular season and in the final minutes leading up to the NHL trade deadline.
This led the Olympic gold medal-winning goalie to unleash one of the best and most appropriate one-liners of the year during a trade deadline press conference: “My contract sucks.”
It became all but official that the Toronto Maple Leafs, after pursuing Luongo prior to the April 3 trade deadline, were out of the running when they acquired Jonathan Bernier from the Kings.
There still could be teams interested in Luongo, although, based on recent history, it’s a total guessing game as to where he may end up.