Please, someone end the lockout simply so that we don't have to ponder Roberto Luongo's future any further. Luongo's time is all but officially over in Vancouver. It has been since the 2011-12 season when Cory Schneider climbed past the weathered veteran, making Luongo one incredibly expensive benchwarmer.
Even as the lockout persists, rumors are still creeping up about where Luongo will go next. All signs are pointing to Toronto but will that truly be Luongo's next home?
A recent article from The Globe and Mail speculates that Luongo's move to Toronto almost makes too much sense not to happen. The Maple Leafs need a new goaltender – desperately. The Canucks will be asking a big price for their former number one and the Maple Leafs are one of the few teams that could stomach the steep price. Looks like all the puzzle pieces fit, right?
Not so fast.
The Toronto Star reports that the Vancouver Canucks have denied the rumor that a trade with Toronto has been agreed on in principle. Obviously, the lockout needs to end before any transactions can be made but that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from continually churning out "Luongo to Toronto" headlines. Yes, a deal could be agreed on in principle but that hardly means it's official.
The Star's report also included a quote from Vancouver GM Mike Gillis.
“We’ve moved very slowly on any discussions with Roberto — we’ll trade him when we get want we want to get for him, or we won’t trade him, and either way it’s fine with me.”
Talk about your stereotypical GM response. Even if the two sides have had extensive talks, Gillis would be wise to keep his mouth shut. There's no telling when the lockout will end and there's no telling if a better offer for Luongo might pop up in the future. Why would Gillis confirm the rumor and reduce the value of his trade piece?
Still, you shouldn't close the book on the Luongo to Toronto story just yet regardless of what the GMs say. It's known that the two sides had discussions prior to the lockout. It's known that Vancouver is asking a pretty hefty price, one that very few teams would be able to afford outside of Toronto. If we had to place a bet on where Luongo will end up we'd still side with the Maple Leafs. The only issue might be "when" Luongo is dealt to Toronto (gee, thanks lockout) as opposed to "if".