The city of Vancouver is buzzing with Roberto Luongo speculation once again. It just never ends. What sparked the Canucks faithfuls interest was Elliotte Friedman tweeting that Mike Gillis and his assistant Laurence Gilman were in attendance at the Capitals game against Pittsburgh Sunday. This has left the entire city of Vancouver wondering if the Washington Capitals could be that mystery team Mike Gillis alluded to earlier this year.
The Capitals are off to a horrible start and although much of the blame lies with their porous defense and non-existent offense, the goaltending hasn’t exactly been spectacular either. The Capitals have gone back and forth with their current goaltending tandem of Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby, with very little success. The promising young duo have a combined 3.495 GAA and .892 save percentage.
Following Braden Holtby’s spectacular playoff run last year it seemed as though the Capitals had finally found some stability in the crease. Their goaltending situation now seems just as murky as it did this time last year. Despite his terrible start Capitals management is apparently still very fond of Holtby. That being said, George McPhee is no stranger to roster shake ups and bringing in Roberto Luongo might just be his way of waking up the team. The Capitals might not even need to part with Holtby make a trade work either.
Luongo presents a considerable upgrade in net, and carries a very affordable 5.3 million dollar cap hit. With Luongo in between the pipes, the Washington Capitals can finally rest assured that goaltending will be the least of their worries. Luongo can also give the Capitals the kind of confidence in net needed to finally play the kind of wide open fast paced hockey they need to to be successful, and more importantly get Alex Ovechkin going.
The Capitals also have all the right pieces to make this trade work. Names like Karl Alzner, Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer and John Carlson have emerged as possible returns in any deal that would send Luongo to the American capital. Another player that Gillis might be interested in is Marcus Johansson.
Johannson is off to a terrible start, and has been a healthy scratch twice already this season and hasn’t registered a single point. He is also a minus 6 on the year. Those stats might not jump off the screen (at least in the positive sense) but they also make his value significantly lower. It also means it is more likely that the young Swede is available.
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Johannson is exactly the kind of player the Canucks need. He has the ability to play just about anywhere in your top nine forwards, but is a natural center. In the short term he could see time as the Canucks second line center. When Ryan Kesler returns from injury, he has the defensive acumen to make a great third line center. Johannson is a great passer, with tons of potential. If the Capitals have lost faith in Johannson, this could work out very well for Vancouver.
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