Two reports last night – from hockey analyst Enrico Ciccone and TSN’s James Duthie – said that the Flyers are interested in Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who has been the subject of many trade rumors.
Problem: The Flyers have a goalie, and while the universe is humongous big, Philadelphia may not be big enough for two high-priced netminders.
Or is it?
With the new CBA, teams will be able to buyout two contracts (only during the next two summers) to get cap relief. That means the Flyers could, in theory, trade for Luongo and then buyout Bryz this summer. The two players have very similar contracts– Luongo is signed through 2022 with a cap hit of $5.3 million, and Bryz is signed through 2020 with a cap hit of $5.6 million.
Adding more fuel to the fire, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post said the Flyers are “VERY interested” in Luongo, an assertion that was met with skepticism from Daily News beat writer Frank Seravalli, who spoke to Paul Holmgren about the rumors: [Philly.com]
When contacted, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren quickly shot down the rumors.
"That made me chuckle," Holmgren told the Daily News. "It's safe to say those rumors aren't true. They have no basis or merit."
Seravalli and Dater exchanged messages on Twitter, where Seravalli posited that the Canucks were leaking the Flyers’ name to gain leverage in other trade negotiations. The Flyers are one of only a few teams in the league that could realistically be linked to any player, anywhere… ever. So, it fits. Joe Yerdon of Pro Hockey Talk agrees:
Gee, this couldn’t just be an effort by the Canucks to drive up the price for a guy they almost have to trade, could it?
If the reports are accurate, Dater says that the Canucks would be interested in Niklas Grossman or (presumably Luke) “Schenn.”
My take? The sometimes-maligned Luongo is a year older than Bryz and just as expensive. He was pulled twice in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, so he’s not without his own past demons. And the Flyers need more help on defense, not less– it would be foolish to trade a top-two pairing defenseman for what may be only a marginal upgrade over Bryz (never mind the fact that the Flyers would have to buyout Bryz later). But, Luongo could undress a woman with those eyes… so, he's got that going for him.
Whatever the case, it’s good to have hockey, and Homer, back.