Earlier this week is was reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs were interested in acquiring the services of veteran goaltender Roberto Luongo, but it appeared for a while that they aren’t alone in their pursuit. As many as three teams were interested in Luongo on Wednesday but the Philadelphia Flyers had reportedly thrown their hat into the race.
Now, this is an interesting prospect, considering the Flyers already have a goalie locked up in net, as Ilya Bryzgalov was locked up long term at a pretty penny by the Flyers back in 2011. Bryzgalov’s cap hit for the Flyers is roughly just over $5 million per season until his contract expires in 2019, so the fact that Luongo is reportedly on their radar is head scratching.
The salary cap issue is likely why Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren literally laughed off the rumor when approached about it.
“That made me chuckle. Safe to say [the rumors] aren’t true,” Holmgren told the Frank Seravalli of the Daily News ”They have no basis or merit.”
Other reports have backed up the stance that Holgren has, saying the Flyers are absolutely not interested in Luongo and that the general hockey public shouldn’t believe the hype. But it seems the Luongo rumors all depend on who you ask, as TSN’s James Duthie said that the denial’s shouldn’t be so easily believed.
Despite some denials, the tweet earlier from @enricociccone is accurate.The Flyers are interested in Roberto Luongo.
— james duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) January 10, 2013
While the Flyers may not have direct interest in Luongo, a more realistic approach seems to be helping somebody else get him while dumping some salary in the process. Jimmy Murphy from ESPN reported that the Flyers, Maple Leafs and Canucks were working out a three-way trade for the goalie that would land him in Toronto.
That deal may still be on the table, but after Toronto’s general manager Brian Burke was fired yesterday, Toronto might be back on their own in acquiring Luongo. As for Philadelphia’s involvement, while they’re denying interest in Luongo, this might just be a ploy by Vancouver to drive the price up on a guy they want to trade to the highest bidder.