Long Term Contracts Can Lead to Long Term Headaches

Long Term Contracts Can Lead to Long Term Headaches

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was a prized asset to the team going into the 2009-2010 season. After having an impressive season and leading the Canucks to the playoffs the season before, the Canadian-born goaltender was given a 12-year extension for $64 million prior during the summer of 2009. Luongo was a star on the rise and Vancouver thought that locking up the goaltender for a long period of time would create a dynasty in the future.

Luongo would go on to win a championship in 2010 but not with the Canucks. Luongo won a gold medal for Team Canada in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 in the same building the Canucks call home each season. Luongo was one of the biggest assets for Team Canada and helped them take home the most prized possession any Olympian dreams off.

Over a year later, Luongo would be playing for the Canucks in the same building for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup. The opponent on the other side of the ice was not Team USA but the Boston Bruins. Vancouver was heavily favored to win but Luongo did not play as well as he had on the world stage the year before. In a few games of that series, Luongo struggled against the Bruins, which baffled many hockey insiders. Those who follow the sport closely couldn’t understand why the goaltender who was going to be paid $64 million over 12 years could play well enough to win a gold medal but not a Stanley Cup.

Since the disappointing play in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Luongo has not been as consistent as the Vancouver management would like. Luongo has been benched numerous times during the regular season and the playoffs. Former backup Corey Schneider has taken over as the number one goaltender for the Canucks while the 12-year investment has been riding the bench.

Since becoming expendable, Luongo has publicly stated he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go somewhere else. The only problem is there have been no takers for a goaltender with a long-term contract who has struggled.

At one point, rumors floated about that the Canucks tried to work a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets that would send Luongo to the Buckeye state. Luongo may have been able to help the Blue Jackets, however, Ohio’s lone NHL team was in financial shambles at the time and taking on Luongo’s contract would have been a concern and a risk. Columbus ended up passing on a deal and many teams followed. When asked about not being able to be traded, Luongo would tell reporters that his “contract sucks.”

The Vancouver Canucks have vowed to make changes this year after being ousted from the playoffs and have already done so by firing head coach Alain Vigneault. General Manager Mike Gillis has said he is confident Luongo can be dealt this summer. Luongo has nine years left on the deal he signed in 2009 and it has hard to tell if anyone is willing to make the long-term investment.

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~ by jeffrsabo on June 1, 2013.

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