If you thought the Roberto Luongo-to-Toronto rumors were getting hot, you might want to buckle up.
TVA’s Enrico Ciccone tweeted earlier today that the Philadelphia Flyers were interested in picking up Luongo and that rumor was confirmed by TSN’s James Duthie this evening.
What to make of all this? Not much right now other than another team apparently getting in the hunt for the likely soon-to-be Canucks star goalie. Before the lockout, rumors swirled about the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks being involved in the hunt for Luongo, but those teams didn’t have a goalie signed to a long-term, big money deal the way the Flyers do.
Oh yeah, Ilya Bryzgalov is still the Flyers’ goalie and he has eight years left on his contract with the team at $5.6 million per year. With each team having two compliance buyouts coming after this season is over, it’s possible some team could/would buy out Bryz.
Then again, as Duthie says, the rumor doesn’t mean the Flyers will acquire Luongo, it just means they’ve asked about him. Can we get the CBA fully ratified so silly season can begin in earnest?
Update: Philly.com’s Frank Seravalli spoke with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and his take on the rumor is pretty fantastic. “That made me chuckle. Safe to say they aren’t true. They have no basis or merit.”
Another update: Adrian Dater of the Denver Post says to not believe the Flyers’ disinterest and adds that the Canucks would ask for Niklas Grossmann in a deal for Luongo. Failing that they’d ask for Schenn. We’ll assume he means Luke Schenn. Gee, this couldn’t just be an effort by the Canucks to drive up the price for a guy they almost have to trade, could it?
Meanwhile, Ilya Bryzgalov wants to play a lot this year
With the CBA talks taking a turn for the scary and Shane Doan’s decision put off for even longer, it seems like a decent time to take a glance at the drawn-out divorce between Rick Nash and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The latest update in the hockey game show “What does GM Scott Howson want for Nash now?” comes from TSN. While it’s likely that a couple NHL-ready forwards won’t be enough to do the job alone, that’s currently Howson’s emphasis in talks.
“If we do complete a trade, we’re trading out a 30-to-40 goal scorer,” Howson said. “Defense is probably the strongest part of our team if we look at it today, so we’re looking to get some NHL forwards back first and foremost.”
Personally, I think Howson is only half-correct about the Blue Jackets’ strength. While they’ve invested an unusually large amount of money in their defense – compared to the value they’re expected to get – stopping other teams from scoring isn’t necessarily their strongest point. Instead, their blueliners are probably most adept at filling the net. Both Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski are known more for creating offense (sometimes for both sides) than stifling it.
Interestingly enough, Howson shot down rumors about the team’s interest in highly touted Los Angeles Kings backup Jonathan Bernier. He mentioned that there might have been some interest at the draft before they acquired Sergei Bobrovsky, but it stopped there.
Either way, many must wonder if the Blue Jackets will relent from what’s widely believed to be an excessive asking price for Nash. Howson isn’t budging on his quest to squeeze every asset he can imagine from the team’s soon-to-be-ex captain, though.
“I have a value that I’ve placed on Rick and that our whole organization has placed on Rick,” Howson said. “He’s an elite player, he’s been a tremendous ambassador for our franchise and our city and we’re very comfortable with the value we’ve placed on him and until we get that value, we’re going to keep working away at it.”
More than a few GMs probably feel like saying “good luck with that,” then.
Earlier today, we passed along notes about St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong’s hopes of adding a top-four defenseman. Jeremy Rutherford reports that they have at least some interest in a guy who would fit that description: pending Florida Panthers free agent Jason Garrison.
Armstrong noted that it would be more likely that the Blues will trade for a free agent blueliner rather than signing one, but that doesn’t mean Garrison wouldn’t fit. After all, they could always acquire his rights before July 1 – which might be just fine with Florida if they decide that his contract demands are excessive.
We can debate Garrison’s merits in his own zone all day, but it’s hard not to gravitate toward his booming slap shot. He might be a mph or five below Zdeno Chara in that category, yet for a Blues team that struggled on the power play, Garrison’s shot could be quite the tonic.
Of course, it’ll all come down to the price being right – both in trade and contract terms. Still, it’s interesting to ponder. How well do you think he’d fit in St. Louis?