There you have it general NHL followers and Vancouver Canucks fans, there will be a #1 goalie in Vancouver come start of the season. In the two-part candid interview with TSN host James Duthie, Roberto Luongo covers the drama of recent past with his handling by the Canucks and the emotions that ensued.
Luongo goes into detail about the feelings of a divorce between him and the team that signed him to the 12-year, $64-million contract and how he was prepared to move on into the next chapter of his career.
It is quite evident that after everything that happened involving his thought-to-be-inevitable departure, he wanted to put this whole situation behind him and join a different team.
At the end, Luongo states “…wherever I am I’m going to be 100% committed to that place. Right now I’m in Vancouver and I’m 100% committed to that,” which is positive for the team and fans alike to hear.
However, there is certainly the sense of frustration and gloominess as far as tone to the interview, and it he doesn’t reference towards the long-term and even mentioned he considered every possible option of getting out of his contract- that includes voiding it and foregoing $35 million dollars.
The goaltender never mentions he was back on good terms with the Canucks, nor does he state he wants to be in Vancouver.
He describes in detail the negative emotions of both shock and breaking down throughout the interview and timeline of events, from the trade deadline to the draft where Cory Schneider was dealt to New Jersey.
My prediction is that Luongo will be back in blue, white and green this fall, but the future after this season is murky. He is a determined person and this is a big year on a personal level, for which he has been reportedly training extremely hard in preparation.
It’s evident he is focused on being named the #1 goalie for the Canadian Olympic Team, as well as reasserting himself as one of the best starting NHL goaltenders this season (as stated to Duthie).
There’s no chance that he was ever going to miss the Olympic opportunity by sitting out, so it was inevitable he’d be playing this season, it was just a matter of where.
This leads me to believe he is only focused on this year to put himself in the best possible position going forward.
The contract will have a large chunk of change paid out from another season of service and, as mentioned, Luongo hopes to have his game at an elite level.
Voiding the deal after this season will be at less of a financial hit to Luongo and he will be coveted by other teams around the league if it happens. Accordingly, if I had to guess, I’d venture he likely tries to void it after this year is done.
A lot can happen over the course of a season and just maybe the relationship is somewhat rebuilt between himself and Mike Gillis & co.
By all accounts, Luongo has always been a terrific teammate and one has to think his fellow fins feel for him and the situation he’s been subjected to.
Maybe that bond will be strong enough to have him re-adjust to the organization and remain here for past this season; I certainly believe there’s a strong possibility this season is his last as a Canuck.
Then again, who knows, maybe bringing a Stanley Cup to Vancouver will endear him enough to stick around in the west coast rain a little while longer.