Even Roberto Luongo thought he was going to be a Maple Leaf.
On Thursday, the Canucks goalie — who will face Toronto on Saturday at Rogers Arena — said he was confident he would be wearing the blue and white.
“I was pretty sure I was going to end up there,” Luongo told the Toronto Sun. “I was pretty shocked and surprised when I didn’t.”
There were two major instances in which Vancouver GM Mike Gillis tried to flip Luongo to Toronto — once at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (when Brian Burke was at the Maple Leafs’ helm), then again at the ’13 trade deadline (when Dave Nonis was in charge).
Things heated up so much in ’13 that Luongo was actually pulled off the ice during practice to finalize what appeared to be a deal to the Leafs. But that deal fell apart, leading to Luongo’s infamous “my contract sucks” remarks.
This summer, Luongo put his Vancouver penthouse on the market in preparation to be dealt (again) — only to have the rug pulled out (again) when the Canucks flipped Cory Schneider to the Devils, making Bobby Loo the No. 1 goalie (again).
The 33-year-old netminder has been busy since, ranking among the NHL’s leaders in starts (12), shots faced (330) and time on ice (731:19) this season.
He’s pretty happy about the development.
“A lot has happened over the past year and a half, two years,” Luongo said. “To be honest, I’m just excited to be playing again and to play every night.”