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Leafs Report | Luongo Isn’t Too Eager to Join Leafs. By Dan Benton

June 26, 2012
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Roberto Luongo, 33, isn’t too eager to join the Toronto Maple Leafs

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The Vancouver Canucks goaltender has refused to waive his no-trade clause for deals that would see him shipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks.

Luongo is seeking a trade to the Florida Panthers, who he has already played with, according to those closest to him.

The 33 year old spent five seasons with Florida. He set team records for most all-time games played, wins and shutouts.

During the 2006 off-season, he was traded to the Canucks after failed contract negotiations with the Panthers. Following his second year with the Canucks, he became the first NHL goaltender to serve as a team captain since Bill Durnan in 1947-48. Luongo served in that capacity for two seasons before resigning from the position in September 2010.

That season, he helped the Canucks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Boston Bruins. During his time in Vancouver, Luongo has become the team’s all-time wins and shutouts leader.

The future Hall of Famer has also competed for Team Canada in several tournaments. As a junior, he won a silver medal at the 1999 World Junior Championships. Luongo has won two gold medals at the 2003 and 2004 World Championships. He also won the 2004 World Cup championship and appeared in the 2006 Winter Olympics as a backup to Martin Brodeur. He outplayed Brodeur to become Canada’s starting goaltender during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and went on to win Gold.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told TVA Sports in May that Luongo had requested a trade from the club.

The rise of backup Cory Schneider, 26, this spring, has opened the door for such a deal.

Schneider played in 31 games for Vancouver last year, winning 20 and losing 11.

Schneider is also a pending restricted free agent while Luongo has 10 years left on a 12-year, $64-million contract.

So, the Leafs’ goalie position looks like it will still be shared between James Reimer and Ben Scrivens next year, unless something changes.

Reimer made his N.H.L. debut with the Leafs during the 2010-11 season and went on to replace Jean-Sébastien Giguère as the teams starting goaltender. He finished 14-14-4-3 for the Leafs last year, with a 3.10 GAA.

Scrivens, hasn’t had a smooth ride to the N.H.L. at all. After completing his collegiate career, he wasn’t selected in the N.H.L. Entry Draft, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Leafs signed Scrivens to a one-year contract on April 28, 2010.

He started the 2010–11 season with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, the Maple Leafs second tier affiliate. He played in 13 games with the Royals, winning 10. For his efforts he was selected to represent the Royals in the ECHL All-Star Classic. His strong play at the ECHL level, and injuries to other goalies in the Maple Leafs systems earned Scrivens two separate callups to the Toronto Marlies.

His strong play with the Marlies got the attention of Leafs’ coaching staff.

The Leafs re-signed Ben Scrivens on July 1, 2011. He has been called up to the N.H.L. as of October 24, 2011, in an emergency situation. He made his first regular season start on November 3, 2011, in Columbus. Scrivens was dominating in his first professional start, stopping 38 shots and leading the Leafs to a 4-1 victory.

Jonas Gustavsson, who recently had his negotiating rights traded to the Winnipeg Jets, was Toronto’s strongest goalie, according to stats, last season. He posted a 17-17-4 record with a 2.92 GAA. Scrivens posted a 4-5-2-0 for the Blue and White in 2011-12, while Jussi Rynnas finished 0-1-0-0 with a 4.24 GAA.

The Leafs currently lack an established starting goaltender and it looks like the search for a saviour between the pipes continues.

Dan Benton
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