Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Buffalo Sabres Pursue Roberto Luongo?

It’s the dilemma that won’t seem to go away. What will the Vancouver Canucks do with goaltender Roberto Luongo? GM Mike Gillis made it clear this offseason he would have no problem trading their netminder, but as of now Luongo remains in Vancouver. We’ve all heard the names who are “rumoured” to have interest in Luongo but you may want to add the Buffalo Sabres to that list.

As we saw early this week Jhonas Enroth isn’t capable of being a NHL backup (at least not right now) and sure as heck isn’t capable of being a number one goalie. As well as Ryan Miller has played to start the season his play is dropping off and he’s not getting the job done for the Sabres on a consistent bases. Since GM Darcy Regier refuses to acknowledge a coaching change may be needed the next best shake-up in Buffalo is goaltending.

With the Sabres losing 7 of their last 9 games dropping to 14th in the Eastern Conference the Sabres need to make a change in order to wake up the team- that has all the talent to be competing with the big dogs. Something needs to be done to change the Sabres downfall and acquiring Roberto Luongo from the Canucks may be their best bet for the future.

The Sabres are entering a real goaltending bind after this season. Enroth will become a restricted free agent and thus far has not proven he’s ready to take the torch from Miller or even be a reliable backup. The Sabres will have to make a decision on what to do with their backup netminder whether they keep him around or replace him with someone from the Rochester Americans. Shortly after making their mind up on backup Enroth they will need to make a decision on Miller, or rather he will have to make a decision on the Sabres. Miller will become an un-restricted free agent at the end of next season and there’s no guarantee he’ll stay in Buffalo. There’s been talks he would like to go play closer to LA and with the pitiful play of the Sabres defence there’s no real reason for him to return to Buffalo.  With some solid defence Miller would have no problem helping turn a borderline team into a contender. Two seasons from now the Sabres may find themselves goalie-less, and has either David Leggio or Connor Knapp impressed enough to get a shot of playing in the Sabres hostile crease?

It would be hard to argue that Luongo wouldn’t be an upgrade over Ryan Miller and with the track record he has; From winning a gold medal with Canada at

the Olympics to making it to within 1 game of winning the Stanley Cup. He’s proven he can get the job done and with the way he’s playing with the Canucks right now he would be able to bring some consistency in the net. If the Sabres could get their hands on Luongo their goaltending woes may be settled and they may be able to make a playoff run- if not at least they buy some time with a solid goaltender before Andrei Makarov is ready to take over.

While Canucks GM Mike Gillis claims he’s in no hurry to trade Luongo and wants to wait for a fair deal that he feels is worth trading for the goaltender for, let’s face it he’s dumping Luongo’s contract on another team and isn’t going to get anything spectacular in return. Since a team will be requiring a hefty salary with obtaining Luongo, the Canucks will likely have to eat a contract from the trade, who better to give them than Ville Leino?

Leino hasn’t been able to play up to expectations when he was brought into Buffalo and handed a huge sum of money- maybe he’d find a better fit in Vancouver, I mean it’s working for Zach Kassian. The Canucks have also been hit rough by the injury bug making them weak up the middle; having Leino to fill in while some of their top players heal up would be a huge benefit for the Canucks. When they no longer require Leino’s services they can buy him out, trade him or maybe he’ll even re-find the scoring touch which made Buffalo hand him the bank.

Of course there’s the whole issue of convincing Luongo to waive his no-trade clause in order to come to Buffalo, but if the Sabres can they should give some serious consideration to acquiring Roberto Luongo. The Sabres would be able to deal Miller before he walks on the team and they get nothing in return and would be able to pick up a consistent goaltender in Luongo who would be able to hold the fort down and maybe backstop the Sabres to a Conference Final.

Something needs to be done to wake this team from their “funk” and acquiring Roberto Luongo may do the job.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Roberto Luongo Ryan Miller

  • Michael Harlow

    No, Luongo is a basket case and he’ll really lose it playing behind this Defense. I think he’d find a way to have Jordan Leopold injured so he couldn’t play. Miller would be outstanding again with a good physical defense in front of him.

    • Andrew

      It hasn’t just been the defense. Lindy has the offense back there in 5 on 5s running around like they are on a penalty kill, which works against the concept of having “puck moving” defensemen.

  • Rich Spalding

    Nah – I’d rather not see Luongo brought in to Buffalo. Either the Sabres need to get Enroth’s confidence back up, or they need to get a young goalie in town quickly and have him start studying under Miller. Why replace Miller with someone older and closer to being past his shelf life? The Sabres need to find the next young number one goalie.

    • Andrew

      Since the B’s look solid in net…how about going after Malcolm Subban?

  • Troy Berkely

    No. I also think it is time to trade Miller, and this summer would be the perfect time to do so. If they wait until next year, then his value will diminish significantly, as most teams interested in his services will just wait until he becomes a FA. Also his desire to be closer to LA seems to be a good valid point, which I also argue it may be a distraction and contributing factor to his recent play.

    • Andrew

      I think Miller has played solid with respect to how terrible the Sabres defensive zone play has been.

  • keithwozniak

    Pegula needs to prove to Miller that he’s serious about winning a Stanley Cup and unless he does that I’m sure Miller will be out. Not so sure that Leggio is an NHL quality backup and Knapp definitely isn’t. There hasn’t been a decent backup since Biron and he bolted. Has the problem been the backups or has the problem been the coach for letting the backup get rusty and hung out to dry?

    • Andrew

      I think we all know by now that the coach is the source of many problems with this club.

  • Joseph Piracci

    I think the Luongo idea is intriguing, but I don’t think it will happen. The Sabres are convinced Miller is an elite goalie. The truth is he is a good goalie nothing more. The Sabres need to start thinking about the future in goal. Ryan Miller, while he has been great at times, has been a slightly above average goalie for most of his career. His career GAA and SV% are 2.58 and .914. Those are good numbers but not elite. 09-10 he played out of his mind and was the best goaltender in the world. He never played anywhere near that level before and hasn’t since. He’s a good goaltender that had one great season. He’ll be 33 in July and 34 when his contract is up. I have no interest in seeing him resigned and if we could get value in a trade I’d be all for it. The problem is they have no replacement in the system right now that is ready to step in and there aren’t many options out there available in a trade or through free agency. Luongo’s career numbers are only slightly better than Miller’s, but those numbers are misleading due to his time playing in Florida with some extremely bad teams, most of them much worse than any Sabres team Miller has played with. Since he has been in Vancouver (7 full seasons ) his GAA is 2.35 and his SV% is .920. Those are great numbers. It’s true that Vancouver has had better teams more often than Buffalo during those 7 seasons, but Miller played on two conference final teams and the 09-10 team that won the division. His numbers the two years we went to the conference finals were not good. Taking into consideration the rule changes that increased scoring right out of the lockout he was still in the middle of the pack statistically in 05-06 and closer to the bottom than the middle in 06-07. We simply out scored everyone those two seasons. The roster has been improved over the last two seasons and while the defense has played bad, it’s not all on them. He hasn’t played good enough for long enough stretches the last three seasons either. I think he needs a change of scenery and Luongo could use one too. Luongo may be a basket case, but Miller has some issues of his own. Luongo is a year older, but I would take him for two seasons while we find the next goalie of the future.

    • Andrew

      Great post.

  • lou tirone

    I’ve been going to sabers games since I was 5 yrs old and I can honestly say this team needs a shake up NOW! Darcy Regier needs to shake up this team and a trade may just be the wake up call this team needs. With only 38 games left this shortened season we need it now and not at the trade deadline as that may be too late to get us into the playoffs. Mr Regier please please please pull the trigger on a big trade.

    • Andrew

      We both know that Regier will wait too long.

  • poop

    Is this article a joke? I dont even know where to start with how absurd this is. Im a buffalo fan and live in Vancouver. I have seen all but one game between these 2 teams this season. Seriousley buffalo fans settle the fuck down we arent a cup contender yet but trading miller for a choke artist head case who has a bloded contract through 2022 is absurd. 2022? Yea 2022! Satistics arent the only basis for analyizing goalies. Look at the six huge saves miller made in the boston game. He has been a factor in everywin. Even with vaneks great night we should have lost by a significant margin. If you dont like miller look for the future over the next two years bc luongo doesnt give us anything beyond miller at this stage in his contract besides having a new whipping boy you will b looking to ship out next year but wont b able to bc his shit contract. He is a goalie that almost any team would be interested. Spend luongo money on fa or rfa.

    This article is 10lbs of shit in a 5lb bag.

  • lou tirone

    I agree. Luongo is not. the answer at all. Jonathan Bernier would be a good pickup behind Miller. As far as i’m concerned Ryan is not the issue. Vanek Hodgson and Pominville are the only guys scoring goals. That does not win us hockey games. and the defense isn’t shutting anybody down in our end. We have the talent(Stafford,Leopold,Sekera….) to go it somebody that can come in and make a differenc(ie…Gezlaf,Ryan,Stasny etc) but Regier seems afraid to pull the trigger. Luongo is not the answer but also couldn’t hurt,but there are better moves that could be done.

  • PaulR

    And while we’re at it, why not go after Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro?

    • Andrew

      I heard that Afinogenov is available.