Heading into the 2012 NHL off-season, there was a lot of hype surrounding the players on the open market and there were question marks hovering above the players who were on the block. Probably the most interesting question mark was Roberto Luongo's future in Vancouver. After another lackluster performance in the playoffs by Luongo, and really the Canucks as a whole, and with the expiration of Schneider's contract, Luongo's career in Vancouver seemed to be coming to an end.
With many teams in the market for new starting goalie, such as the Maple Leafs and the Panthers, Luongo's price was projected to be very high. Well, those projections were right on. Luongo's price, along with his enormous contract, has scared away potential trade partners. With very little interest being generated, it was speculated the Canucks might start the season with both Schneider and Luongo on their roster. But in early July, things got complicated when Luongo had this to say on potentially being traded.
"At the end of the day, it's time to move on, I'm OK with that. I had a great six years in Vancouver. I think it's a wonderful city, I really enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bring a Stanley Cup there, which was probably my biggest regret. But it will be remembered for six great years."
This interview dealt a blow to the Canucks effort to trade him for a big package because now teams knew that Luongo wanted out of Vancouver and that was a chip the Canucks didn't want teams to have.
Since then, trade talks have begun to heat up. The Maple Leafs were originally the team rumored to be front-runners to land Luongo, but new reports suggest the Panthers are currently leading the way.
Now to answer the question: Where will Luongo play next year? With the Canucks committing 3 yrs and $12M to Schneider and with Luongo's comments, I don't see him in a Canuck jersey to start the 2012 season, Instead I see him sporting a Panthers jersey. The Panthers seem to be more willing to give top-notch prospects for Luongo then any other team does and the Panthers are rumored to be Luongo's destination of choice.
Tell me who YOU think Luongo will play for in the comments below.
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