The NHL’s trade deadline passed, and Roberto Luongo remains with the Vancouver Canucks, the victim of his own long-term contract that extends through 2022.
Luongo showed his frustration with his contract and his current status as a backup goaltender Wednesday during a news conference with the Vancouver media.
“My contract sucks — that’s what’s the problem,” Luongo said. “I’d scrap it if I could now.”
“I think that he was very emotional,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said. “I think these days are emotional for everybody. I think he said that in a highly emotional state. I’d like to give him the opportunity to catch his breath and have a discussion with him.”
Luongo will spend the remainder of the season in Vancouver and will back up starter Cory Schneider, who has seized the starting job with a 2.27 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
A three-time All-Star, Luongo hasn’t started a game since March 18.
“It’s a tough situation for everybody, no doubt,” Luongo said following Wednesday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. “We’re obviously trying to make the best out of it and making sure that what’s best for both sides is done. Obviously, the time isn’t now, and we’ll have to wait.”
Luongo acknowledged that the remaining nine years on his contract made a trade especially challenging. His average salary cap hit is $5.33 million per season.
“I do feel obligated to trade Roberto and get him into a position where he’s happy,” Gillis said. “The needs of our team also play a role in this. Trying to balance them is a difficult thing. We’ve been doing that for six months.”
According to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, the Maple Leafs had discussions with the Canucks regarding Luongo, but the two sides couldn’t find a match. Luongo can reject any deal but claimed that it never came to that, even though he was pulled from practice early Wednesday.
“There was obviously some teams that were interested,” Luongo said. “Nothing ever materialized to a point where I had to give a decision whether I was going to waive or not. What the future holds is something you try not to think about.”