TO's Sportsnet Cox's view
Reading TO's rumors they are thinking Bozak and a 3rd is enough. If this is somewhat true and Gillis could have had Schenn and no cap penalty then he completely misread the market.
HALIFAX—You watch some of the world’s top hockey prospects parade in and out of physical testing and off-ice interviews, impressing one and all with their talent and their personality, and the reality hits you like, well, a two-by-four upside the head.
Why in the world would the Maple Leafs want to trade for Roberto Luongo now?
Or more specifically, why would they give up anything significant from the future to get him, particularly if it also impairs their ability to acquire more top-end prospects?
These are clearly questions worth asking even as talks continue between the Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks, talks that could in theory bring Luongo to southern Ontario as early as this week.
See, it seems the change from Brian Burke to Dave Nonis has clearly altered the tone of the conversation surrounding the Toronto franchise.
Whereas Burke would have been under the gun to make post-season play to save his job, that seems to be much less the case with Nonis.
The fact Nonis now has a new contract suggests he will actually get a fair chance to build a championship team, which means there should be less urgency today for the team to do whatever it takes just to make the playoffs this season.
If the team is good enough to qualify for the Stanley Cup dance as it is, well, James Reimer will obviously have demonstrated he can do the job.
If the team isn’t good enough, there’s a glorious draft class awaiting, major pieces of which are on display in Nova Scotia this week at the CHL Top Prospects Game.
Portland defenceman Seth Jones is here, and he leapfrogged over Halifax sniper Nathan MacKinnon on Tuesday to become North America’s top prospect for the 2013 NHL draft. Jones looks and acts like the very definition of a hockey thoroughbred.
MacKinnon, Sidney Crosby II in some minds, is a star in the making. His Mooseheads linemate Jonathan Drouin, who has skyrocketed to third in the rankings, impressed the planet at the recent world junior championships.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67’s looks like a terrific prospect, and Kitchener’s Justin Bailey is a particularly intriguing one. This draft is so deep, talented youngsters like London’s Max Domi and Curtis Lazar of Edmonton have dropped out of the top 20.
Among the Europeans, Aleksander Barkov (Finland), Elias Lindholm (Sweden) and Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin — who burned Canada for a spectacular goal at the world juniors — appear to have surefire NHL talent.
Leafs chief scout Dave Morrison is here checking them all out, and he, above all people, could tell you why it is that his hockey team rarely sports any of the world’s top young talent.
He’s rarely in a position to draft them, that’s why.
That changed with the selection of Morgan Rielly with the fifth pick last June, and the best way to follow up on Rielly would be to add another blue-chipper, not a 33-year-old goalie.
The new collective bargaining agreement, of course, has also made Luongo’s contract even less attractive than it was before the lockout. That cap hit will follow whichever team has it until 2022 like a bad smell.
Sure, you might get five good years out of Luongo.
But you’ll get stuck with that contract for five more.
The answer, then, is that you only trade for Luongo if you don’t have to surrender anything of consequence. As if he were an unrestricted free agent. Then you can live with the fact he might improve the team enough to take it out of a top-10 draft position.
He’ll make you just good enough that you can’t get really good.
The Rangers, you’ll recall, gave up blueline prospect Tim Erixon and a first-round pick as part of a package to get forward Rick Nash.
The Leafs simply aren’t in a position to sacrifice those kinds of assets. Nazem Kadri? They’d be smarter to keep him after all the time invested in his development. Tyler Bozak? Sure, but only because he’s 26 and unrestricted next summer.
If Vancouver isn’t desperate enough to essentially give Luongo away just to be rid of the contract, then the Leafs shouldn’t pursue the matter.
The alternative, after all, is quite palatable. Maybe better.
Edited by sampy, 16 January 2013 - 09:35 AM.