Now that new coach John Tortorella has been hired, Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis can try to complete a long-delayed project in conjunction with Sunday's NHL draft — trading goaltender Roberto Luongo. "We're going to try and accomplish that goal," Gillis said this week. "We'll see what happens." If other teams do not find the nine years remaining on Luongo's US$64-million contract onerous, his trade could help the Canucks acquire a veteran or some young talent in the form of prospects or draft picks. But Gillis will not be dealing from a position of strength. Although Luongo's contract has a reasonable annual salary-cap hit of $5.3 million, clubs have to reduce their cap maximum to $64.3 million from about $70 million as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. The Canucks will also be missing a key bargaining chip if they want to move Luongo, who must agree to waive his no-trade clause. "I think it's a strong draft," said Gillis. "I think there's opportunity, but we don't have a second-round pick, because we traded it at the trade deadline to try and get stronger for the playoffs. That's a practice that I don't like, and I haven't liked, and I'm not sure what we can do with that." The Canucks sent their second-round pick and minor-league defenceman Kevin Connauton to the Dallas Stars for centre Derek Roy. Roy produced just one point in the playoffs as the Canucks were swept in the first round by the San Jose Sharks. NHL clubs head into this year's draft with significant change looming when the 2013-14 season begins. In addition to salary-cap challenges, teams must deal with the implications of realignment and tougher battles for prime playoff positions. Gillis expects the challenges and changes to spur trades.
Canucks will try to trade Roberto Luongo in run-up to NHL draft
Vancouver Sun | Jun 27