This is the second installment of ‘Roberto Luongo Trade Rumour Bonanza’! Our first installment pondered the chances of Luongo being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Today, we look at the chances of the Edmonton Oilers landing Roberto Luongo.
As you may have heard by now, Roberto Luongo is likely on his way out of town. Or at the very least, he is being shopped around by GM Mike Gillis. The most talked about destinations so far have been Toronto, Tampa Bay and Floria, but I would like to talk about a darkhorse team.
On the surface Edmonton may seem like an unlikely destination, but there are a lot of reasons why Luongo would be a good fit for the Oilers. Yes the Oilers are rebuilding, but it’s time that they make a move up the standings. They’ve been at or near the bottom of the standings for three straight years, and have built up a nice core group of young players. Players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are likely on the verge of stardom. If they get some good goaltending and some defense, they could challenge for a Stanley Cup in a couple of years. With Luongo in net, they could be a playoff team immediately. Luongo also knows Edmonton’s GM Steve Tambellini from his days with the Canucks, so there’s a comfort level there.
Edmonton could use Luongo and they also have pieces to give up to get him. They have young players like Magnus Pajaarvi and Sam Gagner (a former Mike Gillis client) up front, as well as Ryan Whitney and Nick Schultz on defence that they may be willing to part with to land Lu. They also likely have a wealth of prospects that I haven’t heard of that are pretty good, considering all the high draft picks they’ve had.
A few reasons. First and foremost, it’s Edmonton. Veteran players don’t seem to like playing in Edmonton, and Luongo would have to waive his no trade clause to go there. They’re also a division rival, though I don’t think that should matter much. Nikolai Khabibulin is also still under contract for one more season, and Devan Dubnyk is still in the fold as their goaltender of the future.
With that said, all of those reasons could be overlooked. Luongo might like what he sees with the young Oilers talent and want to be a part of it. Edmonton is a division rival, but they aren’t likely to challenge the Canucks for a couple of years. And Dubnyk hasn’t been exceptional in his young career, which isn’t getting any younger (he’s 26 years old). Khabibulin has an anchor of a contract, but there always seems to be a sucker out there willing to take a chance at a bad contract.
If I were a betting man, I would bet that Luongo doesn’t get traded to Edmonton. But don’t rule it out either. The Oilers would be well served to have Luongo between the pipes, and it would serve notice that Edmonton is serious about winning. If Steve Tambellini offered up Magnus Pajaarvi for Luongo straight up, Mike Gillis would have to strongly consider it. Pajaarvi isn’t exactly what the Canucks need right now (he’s still figuring out the NHL game), so perhaps a threeway deal would work. What about a deal involving Luongo to the Oilers, Paajarvi to the Jets and Zach Bogosian to the Canucks? Or what about a threeway deal involving Rick Nash coming to Vancouver? Intriguing…