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Dreger: What could have been in Vancouver

Darren Dreger
1/8/2009 4:55:42 PM
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Vancouver Canucks fans have quickly fallen in love with Mats Sundin. 

He's the star centre this organization has been searching for several years.

However, long before Sundin the Canucks were presented with an opportunity some might consider once in a lifetime.

The Canucks were offered Vincent Lecavalier.

The offer was made in 2006 as Jay Feaster; the general manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning was willing to do almost anything to acquire Roberto Luongo.

Feaster says he was in constant communication with Canucks general manager Dave Nonis leading up to Vancouver landing Luongo in a trade with the Florida Panthers that sent Luongo, defenseman Lukas Krajicek and Florida's sixth round pick in the 2006 NHL entry draft for Todd Bertuzzi, defenseman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld.

According to Feaster, the Los Angeles Kings were also rumored to be in the mix for Luongo, so a similar offer was made to Los Angeles.

Nonis admits he considered the trade, mainly because he wasn't convinced he would be able to sign Luongo to a long-term contract, so he kept Feaster and the Lightning on the hook and asked Feaster to throw defenseman Paul Ranger into the deal to sweeten his plan B option.

That option wasn't needed because the minute Roberto Luongo agreed to a four year, $27 million dollar deal with the Canucks, Feaster was told Luongo wasn't available.

Jay Feaster says it's the only time under his management where the team legitimately talked to other teams about moving their franchise player and says the eight times per season the Lightning faced the Panthers, even with the offensive fire power provided by Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St Louis, Roberto Luongo was always in their heads. "We believed to beat him; we had to make the perfect shot."

Feaster took his shot at Roberto Luongo and used Vincent Lecavalier as his ammunition; however the Canucks also longed for stability in goal and have never looked back.

Darren Dreger

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