Mike Gillis knows the Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending situation is not sustainable for the long term.
The Canucks president and general manager has been thrilled with the play of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider but says it may be unrealistic that both will be on the roster beyond the shortened 2013 season.
“I really think there will come a time where the right thing for both of them is (for us) to only have one and develop another young goalie,” Gillis told Daren Millard, Doug MacLean and Nick Kypreos on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday. “That’s at the forefront of our thought process. We managed to work out the money and we can do it in the future, but that’s not the pressure. We need to always do the right thing for our players. If we get to the summer with both of them here, I think it would be time to do something.”
While Gillis did point to the summer as a time they could move one of Luongo or Schneider, they have worked out salary cap scenarios where they could keep both of the two on the roster.
Right now, the team isn’t aggressively looking to make a move and is happy with the status quo as the Canucks have won five games in a row and lead the Northwest Division.
“We knew going in there, if there wasn’t a deal for us that made sense,” he said. “We were going to keep both of them in a shortened season and see how things played out. When you can put a guy in net every night that gives you a chance to win, it’s a luxury that is pretty hard to give up. We saw it last year and are seeing it again this year. We knew those twio guys can keep us in games that we might not be in because of some the injuries, and they’ve done just that.”
“You talk to other GMs all the time. One of 200 may get some traction and work out. Teams have consistently called us and we’re listening. Right now, everything is going great for us unless we see a legitimate opportunity.”
While Luongo has been the focus of trade rumours and speculation, Gillis said that people would be surprised by the number of calls they receive from other teams on both their goaltenders, but the Canucks still do not have a deal in place at this time.
The problem for Vancouver could be finding a package it deems as fair value, something that can be challenging with the constraints of the salary cap.
“The problem with the (salary) cap system is that the cap is a magnet,” Gillis said. “Every team that you’re talking to about a potential trade has to do something else or include a player you might not want or manage their cap effectively as well. You’re not going to be able to trade a big-name player in this system without some other things falling into place. That’s just the reality of what we face today. It doesn’t matter what team it is. That makes it pretty complicated and more difficult. Nothing has really changed.”
While some in the media have brought up the idea of buying out Luongo at some point to create salary cap relief, Gillis quickly shot down that notion and said it is completely unrealistic.
“Absolutely not. We’ve never had discussion about it,” he asserted. “It never entered our thought process. It’s so unrealistic. A lot of things that get said are so unrealistic and I don’t know where they come from. Maybe it’s social media, who knows? A lot of the stuff that’s out there is just absurd.”
Gillis pointed out how impressed he has been with not only Luongo’s play on the ice, but how well he has handled what could have been a tough situation for the veteran goaltender.
“We’ve been talking about that a lot,” Gillis explained. “Roberto has just gotten more comfortable. This is who he is. He’s always been funny with a great sense of humour. It’s fantastic. Everyone out here loves it. (The social media) has exposed a side of himself that a lot of people probably didn’t think he had and we’re enjoying it, too. He’s pretty funny. Some of the stuff can push the limits a little but he’s just being himself.”
The Canucks were also pleased that they were able to reach a 10-year multi-platform extension with Sportsnet and believe it is a partnership that will continue to have success in the future.
“It’s great,” Gillis said. “The Sportsnet crew out here is very good. Good working relationship with them and like them a lot. We really like it. Rogers on the name of our building and couldn’t be happier and containing to work with Sportsnet guys.”