Fantasy Impact: Is Luongo Staying in Vancouver? Visnovsky officially an Islander
(9/13/12) Earlier in the summer it appeared all but certain that Roberto Luongo was destined to be traded from Vancouver to a new home, but the longer the situation drags on, the more likely it becomes that we'll be seeing Bobby Lou and Cory Schneider co-existing in a 1A/1B situation on the west coast.
Considering Luongo's whopping cap hit and advancing age, no team seems willing to give the Canucks what they're looking for, and Vancouver GM Mike Gillis seems unwilling to accept that the only thing he's likely to receive in return is a couple of scrubs and/or middle round draft picks. The true value for the Canucks would come in terms of cap relief; trading Luongo would give them room under the salary cap to spend on other players, but in terms of actual hockey assets, the Italian Stallion is unlikely to fetch much else.
Luongo spoke to the media Wednesday at a charity golf tournament and discussed the situation, and he was very gracious and humble, saying all the right things and leaving the door open to a possible return to Vancouver. His words definitely alleviated some of the fear that there could be tension if he does stay, and he appears at peace with the fact that a trade is becoming less and less likely.
So, unless some team suddenly gets desperate and comes knocking at the Canucks' door with an offer they can't refuse, it seems that fantasy owners should start preparing for a timeshare situation in Vancouver. Assuming the Canucks retain both Schneider and Luongo, we'd anticipate an approximate 60-40 split of the duties in favor of Schneider.
And, while it might be a great situation for the Canucks to have two elite goalies, it hurts the value of both players from a fantasy perspective. Schneider is a popular breakout candidate this season, but assuming Luongo remains in the picture, Schneider likely won't see enough starts to warrant a high pick on draft night. And Luongo would be a solid fantasy starter if he went to another team, but he has minimal value as Vancouver's backup. Both goalies will perform at a high level when in action, but it creates a headache for fantasy owners trying to harness the value. Stay tuned as the offseason rolls along, but for now we'd downgrade both players if you're conducting an early draft.
In other news, an arbitrator ruled against Lubomir Visnovsky's appeal of his trade to the Islanders, so the veteran defenseman is officially heading to Long Island. Visnovsky had tried to block the deal on the grounds that he had a pre-existing no-trade clause from a previous contract, but it seemed a longshot the whole time, and now the whole thing is moot. It will be interesting to see if there's any ill will going forward, but the Islanders have a history of forgiving and forgetting; they embraced goaltender Evgeni Nabokov as their starter after he also originally expressed he was unwilling to play for the team. We expect Visnovsky to show up and play hard, but he's aging and injury prone, so he remains a risky fantasy proposition.