Luongo to Hawks? Not going to happen
April, 26, 2012
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesBlackhawks fans would not be very patient with Roberto Luongo, who they love to hate.CHICAGO -- Is there any chance the Chicago Blackhawks would be interested in trading for Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo?
Luongo said he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause, and it sounds like the Canucks might accommodate him.
A source told ESPN.com's Pierre Lebrun that Chicago could be on the short list of teams Luongo would be willing to be traded to.
Coincidentally, Luongo and Hawks starter Corey Crawford share the same agent in Gilles Lupien.
But does Luongo make any sense for the Blackhawks?
The answer is a resounding no.
It's not unheard of for a rival player to become a beloved figure when he changes jerseys. Think of Dennis Rodman among others. But Luongo is a different animal. Rodman was a smaller piece to the puzzle while Luongo would immediately be in the spotlight simply because of the position he plays. He would have to win over fans with his play, just as Rodman did. But it would be very difficult.
As a goalie -- especially one who traditionally gets off to a slow start -- Luongo isn't going to get nearly enough leash to succeed. Every goal will be scrutinized more than usual. Every postgame comment will be ripped apart for meaning. The bottom line is fans would be looking to find something not to like about Luongo, not the other way around.
Luongo has to have some sense of this. He knows how much he's disliked in Chicago. Just as important, it's extremely doubtful the Hawks would be interested in him. He's signed for nine more years, though his cap hit is “only” $5.33 million. The cash outlay to him also goes way down after a mega year that just saw him paid over $10 million. The numbers moving forward aren't completely undesirable -- for a team that has much more wiggle room than the Hawks though. Plus, the Hawks seem committed to the two netminders they have under contract in Crawford and Ray Emery.
The Hawks could offer a package that includes Crawford, in fact they would have to. That would help offset the extra salary and make for a less awkward situation for Lupien, who did not return a call to comment on this story.
But is Luongo necessarily the man for the job at 33? Why are the Canucks moving him if he's a Stanley Cup-caliber goalie. Yes, they have an up-and-coming back-up in Corey Schneider, but we've seen what young goalies go through once they become the starter. There is no guarantee with Schneider either, but at the end of the day he's cheaper and on the rise. Luongo is expensive and on the other side of his best years. The Hawks should stay away, far away.
And they will.