This is about 10 days old, but interesting
What in the heck is going on here? GM Dale Tallon admitted he called Vancouver to kick the tires on Luongo, but really? Is there really a chance he ends up in Florida? Say it ain't so.
What could possibly be the benefit of bringing Luongo and his contract to a Florida team looking to consistent future success? By the time Tallon's Blueprint really hits its stride, Luongo will be 35 years old.
Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen combined for a .914 save percentage last year, ranking 9th in the NHL. In 54 starts, Luongo went a solid 31-14-8 with a 2.41 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Panthers starter Jose Theodore went 22-16-11 in 51 starts with a 2.46 GAA and .917 save percentage. The Panthers were quite snakebit with injuries, which surely affected goal support for Theodore. If Florida was luckier with team health Theo's numbers would have been even more solid.
Looking at just straight numbers these two goaltenders weren't that far away from each other. With Luongo making $5.3 million for ten years and Theodore signed for one more year at $1.5 million, obviously the better value is Theodore, especially when you take into account Jacob Markstrom is waiting in the wings.
Therein lies a tough question. Does Florida considering Luongo say they see potential problems in the future regarding Markstrom? Assistant General Manager Mike Santos has said Markstrom might need to stay in San Antonio for another year. No doubt Markstrom will not be happy about this, and since he is in the last year of his entry level contract, he could be set for a trade demand.
Could Luongo be insurance in case Markstrom is somehow lost as an RFA next year or traded? Just the thought of that would send chills down any Florida fan's spine. The odds of this are extremely remote. But with as quiet as the draft and RFA situations are for this Florida team, one has to wonder if Tallon is stirring the pot just to stir it or he sees a potential problem brewing in net.
For all the accolades the Panthers get for being #1 in organizational depth, the one position they are not deep is at goaltender. There is Markstrom, and then everyone else. A Luongo return would smell more of desperation than smarts. When Theodore looks more than capable to hold the fort for another year, whether Clemmensen leaves as a UFA or not, there does not seem to be a need for such a move.
The other question would be what would Florida trade to get Luongo? UFA Jason Garrison's rights would have to be in play, especially with his verbal desire to play there if he doesn't re-up with Florida. But who else? Santorelli? Upshall? Matthias? Skille? Picks? It seems like an awful lot no matter what.
At 33, is Luongo really worth the price for a slight upgrade in net? The Panthers proved they may be closer than people think to contending for a Cup, but they are still at least two years away in all likelihood. For all the good Tallon has done for this organization, he needs to back away from this situation. The salary, the length of contract, and Markstrom should be all that needs to be said to squash this. Trading valuable assets would make it even worse.