Luongo travels back to Vancouver

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Goaltender Roberto Luongo is returning to Vancouver this week to attend a Canucks charity event, but he doesn’t expect to meet with management to discuss his future.

Luongo, the subject of trade rumors since spring, told George Richards of the Miami Herald Canucks GM Mike Gillis has not asked him for a list of teams he would accept getting dealt to, but Gillis knows the Panthers are his preferred choice.

Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province wondered what effect Luongo’s continued presence would have with his Canucks teammates and upon his market value if he’s still a Canuck when the season begins and has his usual slow start.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were among the few teams believed to have interest in Luongo this summer. In a Monday press conference, however, GM Brian Burke once again claimed he’s not conducting a frantic search for an experienced goalie, suggesting young James Reimer could be the Leafs starter this season.

Luongo has a no-trade clause giving him full control over where he’s dealt, but Botchford points out that wouldn’t prevent Gillis from threatening demotion to the farm team if Luongo does reject a trade.

That would certainly be a hard-line tactic, which Botchford acknowledged would turn an awkward situation ugly.

Botchford also noted this has been “a summer of misses” for the Canucks.

In addition to not moving Luongo, they lost defenseman Sami Salo to free agency, lost out to the Edmonton Oilers in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, their courtship of Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber fell through and they could come up empty-handed in their pursuit of unrestricted free agent right winger Shane Doan.

A Luongo trade might bring in some assets to bolster Vancouver’s roster depth. Given the increasing possibility of a lockout, his situation isn’t expected to be resolved until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place, whenever that will be.

FREE AGENTS STILL FREE

With less than a week remaining until the Sept. 15 expiration of the CBA, the status of several UFAs is garnering attention.

TVA Sports reported Friday the Montreal Canadiens might be close to re-signing defenseman P.K Subban, claiming the Habs offered a three-year, $12-million deal, while the Subban camp was believed to be seeking a five-year deal.

To date, however, there’s been no indication if a deal between Subban and the Habs will be signed before Sept. 15.

Contract talks between the New York Rangers and defenseman Michael Del Zotto appear no closer to a resolution.

Andrew Gross of NorthJersey.com spoke with Del Zotto last week, who said negotiations were out of his hands.

Gross reported the Rangers are believed to have offered Del Zotto – who’s coming off a three-year, $2.6-million entry level contract – a deal worth “in the range” of $2.5 million per season.

Rangers GM Glen Sather believes Del Zotto will “come to his senses,” saying the team’s offer “is what it is,” and that “you can’t negotiate against yourself.”

Detroit Red Wings center Justin Abdelkader, meanwhile, appears more optimistic over his contract status, telling the Detroit Free Press on Friday he hoped to have a new deal wrapped up over the weekend or early this week.

Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday 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, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.

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