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Luongo's future a hot topic now that lockout is over

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TSN.ca Staff
1/7/2013 11:53:02 PM
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The NHL lockout has only been over for a few days but the speculation on Roberto Luongo's future is already heating back up.

For his part, Luongo is just excited to have the lockout done.

"Sunday morning waking up and finding out the lockout was over right way, I could feel almost a little extra jump in my step," he said. "It's going to be pretty hectic the next few weeks but it's going to be nice to be playing some games."

The question for Luongo is who he will be suiting up for to play those games.

Last May, the 33-year-old Luongo told reporters he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if Canucks general manager Mike Gillis asked him to. That led to instant speculation that the club was going to trade him. The rumours heated up even more when the Canucks signed goaltender Cory Schneider to a three-year contract at the end of June and have continued to simmer ever since.

For now though, Luongo remains a member of the Canucks and is getting set to join his teammates in Vancouver.

"I'm prepared right now to go up to Vancouver and start training camp," Luongo said. "Unless Mike tells me otherwise, I'm ready to go, I'm excited. I miss being around the guys and I'm really looking forward to it."

When asked whether he would like to see a speedy resolution to his status with the Canucks, Luongo said he doesn't know how long things will take but isn't worried about a particular timeframe for a deal to be made.

"I gave [Gillis] the green light to do whatever he needs to do that's best for the team. SO whatever that is, how much time that will be, I don't know.

"All I know is, I'm going to be a good teammate, whatever the circumstances."

While it has been reported that Florida is Luongo's preferred destination, he also acknowledged that the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the teams in the running for his services.

"I have a lot of respect for Toronto, Brian Burke and the Leafs," Luongo said. "You know, they are obviously part of the equation, there is no denying that."

If he were to end up with the Maple Leafs, Luongo also said he wouldn't be worried about any added pressure playing in Toronto.

"We all know what the expectations are," he said. "The Canadian markets are very similar."

"It's not something that would be new for me, I've been playing in Vancouver for six years so you know it's something that I can handle, definitely."

Luongo may have given Gillis the 'green light' to make a deal, but with his no-trade clause, it will ultimately be up to Luongo whether he will accept a trade to Toronto, Florida or any other team.

"I've never been part of something like this before," he said. "I don't know what the end result will be. I don't know what's best for the team, for myself or for my family.

"It's going to be day-by-day and I'm going to work with Mike - we'll stay in close contact and make sure we play this out the right way."

Luongo has 10 seasons remaining on a 12-year deal he signed with the Canucks in 2010. The deal carries a salary cap hit of $5.33 million per season but is front-end loaded. His annual salary – $6.71 million for the 2012-13 season – drops off dramatically after the 2017-18 season. He is slated to make just $3.382 million in 2018-19, $1.618 million in 2019-20 and an even $1 million in the final two years of the deal.

Over parts of 12 NHL seasons with the Canucks, Panthers and New York Islanders, Luongo has amassed a 339-283-83 record with a career .919 save-percentage and a 2.52 goals-against average.

He currently ranks second in the league career wins amongst active goalies and holds the Vancouver franchise record for wins as a Canuck.

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