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.