Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo continues to feel the brunt of Canucks fans who still blame him for his club’s inability to defeat the Boston Bruins in last spring’s Stanley Cup final.
Never mind the Canucks lost as a team – notables such as the Sedins, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Burrows and Sami Salo also had forgettable performances.
It seems some choose to ignore the fact the Canucks wouldn’t have reached Game 7 of the final without Luongo, or that he holds team records for shutouts, goals-against average and save percentage (50 games minimum). In fact, later this season he will break the team record for wins, currently held by Kirk McLean.
In the minds of a number of Canuck fans, Luongo is the scapegoat, both for the team’s failure to win the Cup last season and its slow start to this one. All this resulted in a Vancouver Province editorial calling for Luongo to be traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for center Vincent Lecavalier.
“Tampa needs better goaltending; we need a power forward,” wrote the unnamed editorialist. “(Luongo’s) wife could finally be closer to her family and Lecavalier could play again in a city that actually cares about his sport.”
This was either a light-hearted spoof of the situation or the dumbest trade suggestion of the season.
Either way, the Canucks aren’t trading Luongo unless he demands it and that doesn’t appear likely to happen any time soon. And if they do trade him, it certainly won’t be for Lecavalier, who has a no-movement clause and is quite content in Tampa Bay.
HOW TO REPLACE MARC STAAL?
The ongoing absence of defenseman Marc Staal from the New York Rangers blueline has generated concern.
Staal has been sidelined since training camp with lingering post-concussion symptoms from a check he received from his brother and Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal during a game last February.
The uncertainty over Staal’s status led Larry Brooks of the New York Post to suggest Rangers management “is expected to begin a serious hunt” for a top-four defenseman and perhaps even a top-two blueliner to pair with Dan Girardi.
Brooks believes “the obvious place to begin the search is in Nashville,” where the Predators are in a difficult situation to re-sign blueliners Ryan Suter (eligible for UFA status) and Shea Weber (slated to become a restricted free agent) before next July.
But the Predators aren’t in any hurry to move either defender and if they do shop one of them later in the season, they’ll likely want at least one of the Rangers’ good young forwards in return.
That’s not to suggest Suter or Weber won’t be dealt by the trade deadline, especially if the Predators are out of the playoff chase by then. However, as long as they stay in the hunt, those two won’t be going anywhere.
If the Rangers are aiming to land a top-four defender they’ll have to look elsewhere, as calls about Weber and Suter will likely be rebuffed for now.
AVS MISSING MUELLER
Another player sidelined by lingering post-concussion symptoms is Colorado Avalanche left winger Peter Mueller. This lead the Denver Post‘s Adrian Dater to suggest the club faces tough questions if Mueller doesn’t get healthy.
The most obvious course of action, according to Dater, is to make a trade. He pointed out Calgary Flames left winger Rene Bourque – a popular target in this year’s rumor mill – is a veteran winger who would “add something positive.”
The only fear is that acquiring Bourque would cost a top defensive prospect such as Stefan Elliott, Duncan Siemens or Tyson Barrie.
The other option, and the one most likely to happen, is for the Avs to move promising rookie left winger Gabriel Landeskog into a top-six role.
But if Mueller remains out and Landeskog struggles on the first or second line, it would force Avs management to consider the trade route.
DUMONT’S NHL DAYS DONE?
If there are any NHL teams interested in signing UFA right winger J-P Dumont, they’ll have to move quickly.
TSN.ca recently reported Dumont, 33, signed a one-year deal with Bern of the Swiss League.
The deal doesn’t go into effect until Oct. 25, meaning Dumont can still sign with an NHL team before then.
Given the fact he’s been unsigned since July 1, that doesn’t appear likely.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and Kukla’s Korner.