"Little do they know I'm ducking out early to take the Duff Brewery tour."

It’s been a long seven months for Leaf fans. Last season came to the same end that so many seasons before it had and we were forced to spend our days dreaming of next season while reading the LA Kings’ Twitter account and wishing it was ours (or jumping on the Jays’ bandwagon. Which went super great). As usual, the only respite we had from our misery was desperately searching for rumors for anything resembling hope. Thankfully, Twitter exists so this hunt has become easier than ever. Every time a rumor came down the pipeline (the pipeline is my name for Bob McKenzie’s mouth) I frantically began searching the Internet to see what it’s Eklund rating was. I demand at least four Es for my rumors! Eklund, you are my spirit guide.

Making fun of idiots aside (not you, Bob), there is a certain disposition that Leaf fans possess that allows us to take rumors, if not more seriously, at least with a slightly smaller grain of salt than the rest of the league just because we’re so desperate for the next big thing. Or the next small thing. Or anything. It’s been a rough decade.

Obviously, the rumor that has been the most persistant for the last little while has been the idea of really pretty good goalie Roberto Luongo filling the Ed Belfour-sized hole in our hearts. This morning, the series of tubes was set aflutter by that rumor willing itself back to life and pulled us back into the clutches of desperation. Or hope. I honestly can’t tell the difference anymore. As Pass It To Bulis’ Harrison Mooney expertly explained earlier today (seriously, if you want qualified analysis of this, stop reading this and go read that. Oh, wait. Do not stop reading this), Sportsnet’s John Shannon was patient zero for this rumor saying on Hockey Central that the Leafs have a deal in place with the Canucks to send Luongo to our fair city once/if this whole lockout thing comes to end. Though, considering today’s news, this probably isn’t something we have to worry about. Yet here we are.

Now, before we all get excited about the prospect of Luongo in blue and white, let’s remember that this was said on a show that not only employs Nick Kypreos but actually puts him in their commercials and everything. Moreover, let’s keep in mind that, as Mooney points out, Canucks GM Mike Gillis has said that this is not necessarily true.  However, Gillis’ denial came in the guise of a Bettman-like salad of words. Observe.

I’m not sure why John would say that because that’s certainly not the case, but everyone is entitled to speculate on whatever they’d like to speculate on. We’ve moved very slowly on any discussion Roberto Luongo, we’ll trade him when we get what we want for him or we won’t trade him. And Either way that’s fine with me. You know, if we can do something that’s gonna help us and move our team forward in different areas, we’re certainly going to consider it, but that hasn’t occurred yet so I’m not quite sure why that would be said.

Now, because we are in the midst of the lockout, and good Lord am I starved for non-CBA things to talk about, let’s take some idle speculation and talk about it like it is anything approaching truth.

My opinion? This would be awesome.

Yes, there’s still a lot to learn about this potential deal – mainly what would be going the other way (if it doesn’t involve the words Jake or Gardiner I can’t see myself having a problem with it) - but I have long been a defender of the idea that Roberto Luongo is exactly what the Leafs need. Luongo would only cost the Leafs $6.7 million (“only,” he says like he’s a Romney) for the next six seasons before his contract begins to decrease. This is not an exorbant price for a potentially elite goalie. And, if the NHL’s CBA offer is accepted (gah, no, bad Goldsbie, no more CBA talk), the Leafs wouldn’t even be on the hook for the cap hit if Roberto decides to call it quits before his 12-year contract reaches its end.

Let’s say, for argument’s/realism’s sake, that the deal goes down and Luongo turns out to be terrible (and this is Toronto so it’s totally possible). Would the Leafs really be any worse off than they are now? What with James Reimer and his 2011-12 save percentage of .900 and GAA of 3.10? Concussed or not (and he was totally concussed), those aren’t the numbers of a goalie who can lead his team to the playoffs even if you believe he’s a better goalie than those numbers indicate (which I do). I will grant you that Luongo isn’t exactly going to be poor any time soon and that “LUUU” chant is kind of bullshit but the odds of Luongo being legitimately terrible are actually pretty slim. In Luongo’s six years in Vancouver, the highest GAA that he posted was a 2.57. Only one of those years did he lose more than 25 games (29 in 2007-8) and the loss totals of the other 5 years are 22, 13, 22, 15, 14.

Now, obviously the Canucks are a much better team than the Leafs and when Luongo was a youngster on a pretty terrible Panthers team his win-loss record skewed the other way pretty consistantly (only in his last year with the team did he have a win-loss record above .500). However, on those teams his GAA never rose above 3.00 (though it came damn close in 2003-04 when he finished with a 2.97) and the guy has never posted a save percentage less than .908 in the NHL. At the very least he becomes a viable fantasy goalie again. Remember when his save totals were the best thing ever when he was on the Panthers? Oh man, I’m justfying this with fantasy hockey? Desperation, thy name is Jake.

As for the knock on Luongo that he can’t perform in the playoffs? Let’s see the Leafs actually make the god damn postseason before we worry about how our players will or won’t perform.

Of course, this could all be totally moot and just be another thing that gets us excited and ends in bourbon. That tends to happen pretty consistantly ’round these parts. But, let’s not forget, this wasn’t said on some rumor blog. This was said on television. And TV’s always right.

Are you hugging the TV?

Comments (17)

  1. LOU!!!!!!! Lets get Jake Bauer and free LOU!!!!!

  2. Nice article – odd to see a positive spin on the Leafs future but it was a great read

  3. The Leafs stand to benefit most hockey-wise from a cancellation of the 2012-13 season. Based on expiring contracts, developing youngsters, a high draft pick (the criteria in 2005 was playoff experiences and 1st overall picks over the past 3 seasons; assuming it’s a similar draft concept after this cancelled season, the Leafs have an incredible shot at 1 or 2, and MacKinnon or Jones) and the free agency pool of next summer, the Leafs, if played right, could be Cup contenders in 2013-14.

    • “the Leafs have an incredible shot at 1 or 2″

      This is not really true. If you use the same system as the previous lockout, Toronto would have 3 balls in the machine, while the majority of teams have just 1. So they have a 3x better chance of getting 1 or 2? Well, sure, but when there’s upwards of 48 balls in there (the total from 2005), they still only have a 3 in 48, or 1 in 16 (6.25%) chance of being first, 1 in 8 (12.5%) of being top two.

      In 2005, the teams with 3 balls were Buffalo, Columbus, the Rangers and Pittsburgh. These teams ended up with 1st, 6th, 13th and 16th. Montreal had just 1 ball, and ended up 5th (the highest of the 1 ball teams), above three of the four teams with 3 balls.

  4. Bester forever…….

  5. Leafs don’t deserve Luongo. and “LUU chant is bullshit” .. Yeah they definitely don’t deserve him. I’m pretty sure when he made saves during the olympics, the entirety of Canada was Luuing..

    • Luongo had the save on Demitra (I think it was) in the semis but he did NOT play well in the finals and the Parise goal (if not both) was directly his fault!

  6. The Toronto media will eat him alive and run him out of town. He is way too moody and inconsistent for this market. He was run out of town by a goalie with less than 80 games in Vancouver because of his inconsistently. Reimer will also be a star in Vancouver because they are a better team so well will have to see him play well while Luongo has his extended “slumps”. What is the cause of his slumps? Is it mental, chemical or physical? Honestly, how long have you been a fan of the leafs to even consider this ridiculous trade?

  7. Great article, it’s not often I chuckle while reading – but you didn’t capitalize God, grammar/spelling error.

  8. If trading for Luongo means endless chants of Looooooooooooou at the ACC, I am 100% against it.

  9. As a Bruins fan, I am 100 percent in favor of this trade. :-D

  10. Well written article but I have to vehemently disagree with your assertion that Luongo is a borderline elite goalie. In the past- absolutely. But going forward, we’re most defintiely not getting a borderline elite goalie. Mogilny, when we got him, was borderline elite (and that’s a stretch). Bobby Lou…not so much. He might not be as lame as Owen Nolan was (great trade that was!) but I’d take my chances with Scrivens/Reimer/Owuya etc and blow goats for another year than bring Luongo here.

    On a totally unrelated (but somewhat related) note, Canada won the gold in spite of Luongo, not because of him.

    Also, I know how much you love AlMo so don’t freak out that he was called borderline elite.

    Also also, there are a few players other than Jake G (get it?) that I would be livid to see get traded. Grabo, and….that’s pretty much it. I’d have said Schenner but we all know what happened there.


  11. This would be a horrible trade for the leafs. We have two young goalies with potential that need NHL experience, and Vancouver will clearly be taking some of our much needed youth/prospects. Plus loungo is not the same anymore. He also had trouble with the pressure in Vancouver, imagine in Toronto.
    Plus, didn’t loungo say he would only go to Florida?

  12. Last year at the beginning the Leafs were decent and at the top of the league until Giontta ran him in the crease. If Reimer is given a chance then He can show what he can do, I would rather see the team give him and Scrivens a legitimate shot at doing things then bring in Luongo. Wilson totaly played with his goalies last year, and undermined their confidence, if they made a mistake poor game they were on the bench again, every great goalie has had crappy games and needs to be able to work out of it, and not worry if something happens he is on the bench again.

  13. tsns website is saying its just a not true rumour and if you dont believe go to there website

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