Sportsnet writer stands by Luongo-to-Toronto statement despite Canucks’ denial

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Canucks GM Mike Gillis told Team 1040 in Vancouver that Roberto Luongo’s fate hasn’t been decided — but you didn’t think that’d be the end of the story, did you?

If you’re just joining us, Sportsnet’s John Shannon recently asserted that a trade to send Roberto Luongo to the Toronto Maple Leafs is done. Even after Gillis issued his denial, Shannon isn’t backing down.

“Obviously, neither team confirmed my story, nor should they,” Shannon wrote on Sportsnet. “Quite frankly, without a CBA in place, trades can’t occur, and team officials publicly discussing any player transactions would result in some sort fine from New York.

“However, I have been told that the next time Roberto Luongo plays in the NHL, he will play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is from a reputable source. End of story.”

Shannon doesn’t know who will be heading the Vancouver Canucks way, but the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox reported that Tyler Bozak might be the centerpiece of a Luongo deal.

In Toronto, Bozak has a knack for slipping into the role of top-line center, but that’s because Toronto has lacked top-tier talent up the middle. However, if James van Riemsdyk is able to successfully shift to center, then their first-line center problems could be solved.

If he’s dealt to the Canucks, Bozak would likely slide into the role of third-line center, which is both a position that needs filling in Vancouver and one he’d perform admirably in.

Most importantly, the deal would get Roberto Luongo’s annual cap hit of $5,333,333 through the 2021-22 campaign off Vancouver’s books and give the Toronto Maple Leafs a proven number one goaltender to go along with James Reimer.