Rumblings: Leafs, Canucks renew Luongo talks

March, 29, 2013
3/29/13
6:23
PM ET
Well you knew this story would get revisited before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks have renewed trade talks on Roberto Luongo.

My TSN colleague Darren Dreger reported as much Friday; Damien Cox of the Toronto Star also had a story about it in Friday’s edition.

I gathered some of my own intel on Friday and here’s what I came up with:

Last week in Phoenix when the Canucks were in town there, Vancouver assistant GM Laurence Gilman met with his old pal and mentor Cliff Fletcher, senior adviser with the Leafs. Those two guys talk all the time but, on this occasion, Fletcher revisited the Luongo dialogue with Gilman.

That conversation between Gilman and Fletcher sparked Vancouver GM Mike Gillis to follow up and phone Toronto GM Dave Nonis this past week to further explore those talks.

This in itself is a story because Gillis and Nonis, I don’t believe, have ever spoken to each other regarding any trade, as some ill will existed after the former replaced the latter as GM in Vancouver. Usually it’s been other members of each front office communicating on Luongo, not Gillis and Nonis straight on. So that’s perhaps an important shift in this story.

Gillis and Nonis spoke this week and, while there’s no deal that’s imminent and there may never be a deal, it certainly appears there’s groundwork built here for the two teams to keep tabs on this until Wednesday.

Nonis has always kept interest in Luongo, whom he traded for in Vancouver when he was GM, but talks went silent between both clubs for quite a while until last week.

It was predictable both clubs would eventually circle back to each other, the Leafs always being the most obvious fit for Luongo.

One source told ESPN.com Friday that two other NHL teams have also called on Luongo over the past week. Though how serious that interest is remains difficult to ascertain.

As we touched on earlier this week, Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff is also of interest to the Leafs. What’s unclear is whether the Flames netminder would want a trade or not. The Flames need to figure that out with him before Wednesday. If "Kipper" is up for it, I think the Leafs would explore that. He’s got only one year left on his deal compared to Luongo’s monster contract which runs through 2021-22.

Still, if the Canucks are willing to lower the price tag somewhat on Luongo, it could make for an interesting decision for the Leafs.

Luongo, 33, remains a topflight netminder and should be for another four or five years.

The Canucks, of course, continue the search for a No. 3 center. Whether they can find that from the Leafs or use whatever they get from Toronto in a possible Luongo deal to get that No. 3 center, remains to be seen.

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