x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Roberto Luongo left to warm the bench for Vancouver Canucks

Trades can be shocking. For one player, as the NHL trading deadline passed last week, there was a different kind of shock – the trade that did not happen.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Trades can be shocking. For one player, as the NHL trading deadline passed last week, there was a different kind of shock - the trade that did not happen.

Vancouver's former all-star goalie Roberto Luongo, who lost his starting job to Cory Schneider during last year's play-offs and has been anticipating moving away to another team ever since, found himself still stuck as a Canuck. "My contract sucks - that's what's the problem," Luongo lamented when he heard the non-news. "I'd scrap it now if I could."

Funny thing to say, since the Canucks back-up goaltender is owed US$33.5 million (Dh122.9m) over the next five years.

Call it the frustration talking. Luongo, 34, wants to play. Teams rumoured to have been interested in his services ranged from contenders (the Toronto Maple Leafs) to the hapless (the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.)

Since Luongo is a three-time all-star, and still a competent goaltender with a .904 save percentage and a pair of shutouts in 16 games, the Canucks general manager, Mike Gillis, insisted on getting top value in return. His would-be trading partners, however, thought that taking a big, benchwarmer's contract off his hands should make Gillis happy enough.

Which just left Luongo in the lurch, and all parties involved cognisant that money is not everything.

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