The Canucks can be thankful that Roberto Luongo is such a good team guy because many players could have and would have refused to return to this city and told Gillis to get stuffed. Mike Gillis has made several quality decisions while running this hockey team and has also made several disastrous ones.
Gillis overplayed his hand and held out for too long for too much when he was trying to trade Luongo. The biggest problem was that a new CBA was coming and everybody knew the money would be going down. Add to that the success of the Florida Panthers season when they made the playoffs and there seemed to be a perfect quell to the storm. We all know what happened and Luongo came back ready to play and has played as well as anyone could have hoped. He also fired his long time agent and sold his Vancouver residence.
I believe Roberto is being the good soldier for the team and is making the Canucks job as easy as possible for him to finally be moved on this summer. His contract is actually part of the reason many teams will want him now and I will explain why.
After this season Luongo has 4 more seasons paying him 6.714 mil and then his wages drop off dramatically. 3.382 mil, 1.618mil, 1 mil, 1 mil. All the while his cap hit is 5,333,333 mil(capgeek)
Luongo is still a top goaltender in this league, a great professional and a great teammate. He would certainly improve most any team he went to. The cap hit is actually a good thing for smaller revenue teams who are in need of spending money just to get to the cap floor.
As of today, the Florida Panthers will be heading into next season 14 mil under the cap floor with no goaltender signed. Luongo surely has another 4 seasons of hockey left in him and if he chooses play out the duration of his contract or not he will be a valuable asset because of his cap hit. The Panthers , or any other team that is always looking to stay near the cap floor, would be wise to acquire this kind of contract because the out of pocket money is low, which can justify having Luongo remain as a back up in his venerable years, or it is 0 if he retires, but that nice cap hit stays the same.
With the recent television revenue deal and the improving health of several key clubs the NHL is making record revenue and the cap will only continue to rise. The teams that don't want to spend money will be looking for more creative ways to circumvent the cap in order to remain near the floor without having to spend real money to get there.
It would not surprise me if longer term high money contracts become a new trend with older players near retirement just to collect the cap hit after they leave. Of course any such agreement would be illegal between players and club so I'm sure it would never happen, just like tampering.Remember last season where NYI traded for right's to Tim Thomas? A pure cap hit deal.
Until proven wrong I believe we are finally witnessing the last of Luongo in this city...not that I have anything but respect for him.