Sunday, 5 August 2012

Roberto Luongo to the Panthers for Nick Bjugstad?

 Interesting reading the post by Last Word on Sports on the Top 3 prospects for the Florida Panthers.  They include Jacob Markstrom, the 22 year old 6'6" goalie who we can remember from last season when he stoned the Canadiens in a 2-1 loss that was the seventh in eight games to start the season.  Another is Nick Bjugstad, a 6'5" center who will play another season in the NCAA before trying on the NHL for size.

Interesting if you're a Canucks fan and hope that the Roberto Luongo situation can be resolved soon and relatively cleanly.  The only teams reputedly in the market for his services are the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it's debatable whether Roberto would waive his No Trade Clause to facilitate this move, or the Florida Panthers.  The Panthers are the more natural fit, since Roberto played there a few seasons, and his wife's family is from there and she still resides there mostly.

The problem rests in the compensation the Canucks would expect in return from the Panthers.  Apparently the Canucks want Mr. Bjugstad, to which the Panthers are saying "Not in a million years."  He is the kind of large centreman every team wants, and now that he's almost finished his apprenticeship as a Golden Gopher, and he's developed as they hoped he would when they drafted him, they're not about to give him up for a goalie for which there is no bidding war.  Further, they already have two goalies on their roster in José Théodore and Scott Clemmensen, and Jacob Markstrom as a very talented prospect who is near NHL-ready, so the Canucks don't really have them over a barrel in this negotiation.

As a hockey fan on the West Coast, it would be great if the Canucks could pull this off, in ridding the team of a distraction/controversy and a big contract, and acquiring a big forward who would complement their talent up front.  If I'm going to be forced to watch Canucks hockey, I might as well watch an exciting team which has a chance to go deep in the playoffs, and such a trade would be a step in the right direction.  Unfortunately that's not in the cards right now, and the Canucks will either have to bite the bullet and 'dump' Mr. Luongo for whatever they can in return, or hold on to him and hope that an injury or other circumstances create a market for his services.

It's also interesting in that when you have a farm system replete with assets, you don't come across as desperate in trade talks.  The Panthers can choose to add a quality veteran like Roberto Luongo at the right price, or decide to go with what they have, which is a great position to be in.  We can hope that our system which is rounding into form will provide us with the same insulation against desperate dealings in the trade market in the future.

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