The Leafs Nation ran a piece suggesting that the Leafs should probably be comfortable giving up Bozak, Frattin, Gardiner, and a 1st for the star netminder. Excuse me, what?
Pension Plan Puppets responded with a piece that suggested a more reasonable price would be Bozak, Franson, and a 2nd.
What I've spent the past little while wondering is whether the Leafs will need to give up anything at all.
Bob McKenzie tweeted the other day that the latest League proposal in the CBA negotiations included a provision under which a player with a contract greater than 5-years in length who retires prior to the end of his contract would see his cap hit continue to count against the cap of the team who signed him to that deal. Now that's a game-changer.
Consensus seems to be that of the 10-years remaining on Luongo's deal, he's likely to play out 6 of them. For Vancouver, this would mean that after having dealt Luongo for what's expected to be a reasonably modest return (and certainly nothing approaching Gardiner, a 1st, Bozak, and Frattin) they would face a cap hit of $5.33M for four years on a player who's half a decade removed from being a part of their roster. Yikes.
Florida has already told Gillis "no" when he asked for Nick Bjugstad and I expect that Burke would do the same if he were to ask for Jake Gardiner. Since those teams are the two primary suitors for Luongo's services, we can assume that the return will be something less than either of those two.
Given the probable return and what looks like a fairly sharp wrist-slap levied by the NHL, I wonder if it might be in Vancouver's best interest to just buy Luongo out.
With the cap set to decrease and the players likely to maintain the integrity of their existing deals in some manner or another, it seems fairly likely to me that the league will implement some form of buyout amnesty where players currently under contract could be bought out without the team incurring any penalty against their cap. This is Vancouver's chance to get out of the Roberto Luongo business permanently, without having to worry about the possible repercussions in 2018-19 and beyond.
Should the Canucks decide to pursue this route, Luongo becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent and we're asking ourselves what is Luongo worth in terms of dollars rather than in terms of assets. With a 5-year term limit and Luongo admittedly being one of the best goalies in the NHL at the age of 33, the number of suitors for his services likely increases.
What Luongo would be paid on the open market with a reduced salary cap but a 5-year fixed term is anybody's guess at this stage. It's probably safe to say that the cap hit would be greater than the $5.33 number that he's currently carrying but when you consider that you don't have to surrender any player-assets to acquire him, that number becomes a lot more palatable.
The factor that we aren't considering here is not hockey-related but is certainly relevant: Would Vancouver ownership be willing to eat the dollar cost to buyout Luongo for the good of the on-ice product in the medium-term? It's anybody's guess at this point but it would be tough to fault ownership for not wanting to simply swallow tens of millions of dollars in the hopes of reaping rewards 6-years from now.
Suffice to say, when Leafs fans ask themselves what they would give up for Luongo, it might be more pertinent to start thinking in terms of dollars rather than players.