Luongo Contract to Be Voided (Maybe…)

Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo lays on the ice after hitting the back of his head on the goal post during Game 6 of their NHL Western Conference semi-final hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Vancouver, British Columbia May 11, 2010. REUTERS/Lyle Stafford (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)


According to a bombshell of a report by Larry Brooks, Roberto Luongo’s contract may be one the NHL is taking aim at in the wake of the ongoing Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco. Brooks claims the league has offered the players union an ultimatum, consisting of two choices:

Choice #1.) The league will accept the recently submitted Kovalchuk contract (15-year, $100M contract) and grandfather Luongo’s 12-year, $64M deal, and Hossa’s 12-year, $63.3M deal into the CBA under two conditions –

The cap hit would be calculated on the average of the salary up through age 40 only.

The cap hit on future contracts longer than five years will be calculated under a formula granting additional weight to the five years with the highest salary.
Choice #2.) If the NHLPA rejects the amendment, the NHL will reject the Kovalchuk contract, void the Luongo deal and "open an investigation" on the Hossa contract.
If Brooks’ source is accurate, the implications for the players and the league in question are huge. Some consider this a stiff initial test for new NHLPA boss Donald Fehr, one meant to perhaps cripple an already lame duck players union just as it looks to regain it’s feet. For the Canucks, this "re-assesment" of Luongo’s contract by the league means one of two things, depending on what the PA chooses: his cap hit ballons from 5.33M to 6.709M* or he becomes a free agent (I think). The first possibility is bad news for a club already battling cap issues and the second is, well…
Friday suddenly became interesting for more than just Devils fans.
* I was alerted by Rosscreek this morning that the amendment would only apply to future contracts, not the exisiting ones…meaning all current cap hits would stay the same. So this amendment isn’t quite as drastic as it would initially seem.
Apologies folks.

  • BobB

    Holy crap! That is nuts. We’ll first have to see if the story is true, and if it proves to be true, then the impact on the Canucks is massive. It would put them to 5 million over the cap with 2 goalies, 9 defenders signed and 13 forwards.

    Obviously, the defense would be the point of focus, and with Salo out on LTIR until at least December that’s -3.5m. Burrows is out injured for about a month as well, but when he comes back, that would certainly mean the end of Bieksa. Then when Salo comes back?…

    Ouch. They better get full value out of Ballard and Hamhuis, or in our case, they better not. This could mean bad times for the nucks and nothing makes me happier. They deserve it… the Luongo contract is stupid.

    Although, I could understand the counter-argument: “well, they already approved it…so”

    BTW, it’s the first year of Lou’s new contract, not second.

  • BobB

    I generally try to stay out of the stuff I don’t understand (that being the union-league dynamics) but from what Dellow has written in copious detail it seems like both options are wins for the PA’s general membership.

    I mean any move to equalize the real $$ and cap $$ of the contracts of the bourgeoisie means the masses get a bigger share of the pie. That’s a bit Commie in its line of thinking but given that player $$ is tied to revenues I don’t think the capitalist model is valid.

    Aside: how in the hell did the league spin this into them having the PA’s nuts in a vice? Logically I know the PA has a lot of power here but my (irrational?) perception is that they are quite spineless right now. Perception being reality, that’s quite an amazing (and despicable) job that the league is doing.

  • BobB

    That said, these:

    -The cap hit would be calculated on the average of the salary up through age 40 only.

    -The cap hit on future contracts longer than five years will be calculated under a formula granting additional weight to the five years with the highest salary.

    … are complete hacks. I wonder why they couldn’t have done something like 10 year term limit + lowest salary can’t be less than half the highest salary.

    Actually something like that sounds so reasonable that I wonder if someone on one or both sides resisted the idea.

  • BobB

    Why is the NHL so bush league? Tom Benjamin will have a field day. They allow a contract to be signed AND they allow a Stanley Cup to be won with one of these contracts in place. If they didn’t like the contract, they should have immediately voided. I remember they “started an investigation” the second Luongo’s was signed (not sure about Hossa). You can’t let a team plan a whole year with a certain cap hit in mind, and then change that. My only guess is the NHL didn’t think that they could win a grievance on the Luongo contract, and now that they won the Kovalchuk grievance, they are feeling that there’s a precedent to kill the other ones. It’s just amazingly bush league (like everything else they do).

    Does anyone know whether they “started an investigation” on the Hossa contract when it was signed, or the Pronger? Then there’s Zetterberg (to age 40/41) and Franzen (41/42), no? Both tail off to half contract, then a million each the last three years. What are the criteria they are using to threaten Luongo’s and Hossa’s contracts, but not these other ones?

    So, “started an investigation” means “if you piss us off some more, we will use this against you in the future.”

  • Wow that is pretty messed up. The NHL is really really flexing their muscles now. From a HUGE Canucks hater I cannot decide if this is good or not.

    LUUUUUUUUU! has been nothing more than a complete bag of sh*t lately and actually been their #1 detriment on the ice. He whines to the point Roloson would be ashamed and, as has been pointed out in several places, is great on bad teams, average on good teams. That in itself has made me quite happy because that contract was sure to bite them soon enough when he wasnt even playing to the level of providing value in comparison to Theodore or Emery at $2 mill and $1 mill per year respectively.

    If the Canucks accept their fate and take a new cap hit of $6.7 mill for his services, of course, I am ecstatic. I want to see the Flames win first but watching the Canucks fail really is a close second and brings me so much joy (arrogant pr*#ks thinking they are the greatest gift to the NHL even though they have been in the finals TWO times in their 40 year existence yet have more designated “Canuck days” than Detroit because every play off round victory deserves that right?).

    Anyways back to the point. Given the present goalie market and how goalies are viewed now Lu is definitely not worth the money and Gillis must know this. Hes not worth $5.33 either and this is a way out of that albatros they call a contract. If hes bad now imagine him when hes 42 haha.

    So why this concerns me from a Flames fan stand point is because it likely is in their best interest to let that contract die (realistically the Hossa one as well, he did nothing to win that cup and should have kept Buff and others and gotten rid of Hossa to save cap space, IMO).

    Once its dead they can just turn around and offer Lu a $2 mill/year contract because its that or no playing this year for Lu right? And once again Gillis’ rediculously stupid moves will AGAIN not come back to bite him.

    Given his luck with all of this I bet Ballard and Hamhuis play out of this world for the duration of their contracts just because thats truly the way it has gone since he took over. I’m sure Mary Kate and Ashley will play at an unsustainably high level as well because they are “pure awesome.” Hart trophy my A$$.

  • @RO – the PA has never shown much concern for it’s rank and file members. Replacement level guys come and go, aren’t high profile and don’t have the clout that the big boys do.

    That said, this play by the league potentially pisses off both the players and teams involved. I can’t see VAN or CHI being big Bettman boosters down the line if this report turns out to be accurate.

    As for Luongo, I still consider him an elite level goalie, despite some of his post-season slip-ups. That said, his contract is a problem and becomes a bigger one should option 1 be tripped. If his deal indeed gets voided it could actually solve some problems for VAN (although it would obviously create new ones).

  • RO, Luongo is an average goal tender and not worth the salary he is making. If you are a goalie making 5.33 mill you should be winning them games and he didnt do any of that. Look at the games that mattered most and his cocky attitude afterwords. They lose to Chicago in game 6 and his response “well I showed some improvement and only let in 5 instead of 7.” What a leader!

    He was the goalie of the olympics because Brodeur played like crap and they never had any intentions of letting Fleury have a go at it. Literally every game Luongo played behind a superstar team, he let in at least 1 very bad goal that the average goalies would have stopped. They won gold because of the forwards ability to score not the goalies ability to stop the puck.

    My favourite part about Lu is that he ALWAYS has an excuse to not be good. He played like crap down the stretch of the season in ’08 because his wife was pregnant and he couldnt focus knowing she was going to have the baby soon. Last year his captain duties got in the way of him focusing in the playoffs. There was another one in 07 I cant remember but its always an excuse with him. Excuses dont win the games you lost because you played like total crap.

    At least when Kipper was playing like sh*t those seasons there werent excuses. He simply played like sh*t and commented on how he intended to be better. Last year he was hands down the best player on the Flames. If Lu wasnt with the Canucks they would still lead the division, if Colorado didn’t have Anderson they would have been 14th, if Calgary didnt have Kipper they would have been 13th. Is Lu driving wins? No, Raycroft put up pretty good stats for a sub-par goalie because the team in front of him was strong.

    Hossa is a good player but my point was that I bet if we tallied up all of the players contributions that were traded/left the Blackhawks and compared it to Hossa’s contributions over the same time period, the mass group of players would be higher by a pretty big margin. Chicago was never able to keep all of them but some you could tell they would have liked to. I bet if at the end of this year we tally up all of the players that they had to get rid of to get under the cap (Buff, Ladd, Versteeg, Barker, Madden, etc.) and compared them to Hossa group A will be higher. And that is why Hossa wasnt the better choice. He did literally nothing to ensure they won the cup either.

  • BobB

    Brent…please stop.


    Your argument is beyond the line of fanatical dislike. If you think Luongo is an “average goalie” and have nothing with which to back up that claim other than

    “[he] should be winning them games and he didn’t do any of that.”

    please. you have been smoking the drapes.

    I defend Kipper enough, maybe too much.

    Please, don’t make me defend Luongo, I won’t enjoy it, but it’ll be damn easy.

    • I would like to hear your argument actually. Maybe not average I will say slightly above average but not much. Can you really say he is worth the money and the Vancouver Canucks wouldnt be eaqually successful without Lu in net and instead had someone like Emery? If it were last year they still would have won the Division and made it to the second round of playoffs. Thats not that arguable. Sure the stats wouldnt be as pretty but they are there to win games first a foremost, save % is second to that.

  • BobB

    @Brent G.

    I’m not going to get much into the stats, cause you seem to want to ignore them anyway. So, how bout this:

    We most conventionally measure forwards by goals and points right? because it helps you team win.

    Ovechkin, certainly worth 9.538mil cap hit.

    (Edit Note: 9 Raffi Torres equiv.(1mil x 9 = 9mil) would have scored 171goals, and 279 points last year, and have 882 career goals and 1638 career points in 5 seasons. You telling me Torres is better than Ovechkin, cause that’s your logic with Luongo.)

    Crosby, 8.7, what a deal!

    Defensemen, a bit tougher, but no one seems to have a problem with recognizing Lidstrom as the best or one of the best. 6.2mil… no problem, that’s about right…he’s only won 6 Norris trophies.

    Chara @ 7.5, he’s huge!, the guy is awesome, right?

    Ok, so name me one goalie who has either made more saves, has more shutouts, has a better sv%, has a better ev sv%, or has more wins than Luongo in the last 8 years. Now, tell me how much that goalie makes. And, tell me where Luongo is on those 5 lists if he isn’t first.

    OH WAIT! HE IS first on 3 of 5 of those lists, and second on the other two (wins and shutouts) last time I checked. Oh, and the guy he’s behind was at the height of his career for most of those 8 years and Luongo was just getting going! And he played on Florida and not New Jersey!

    Yeah, you’re right, he’s average. No WAY he’s worth 5.3 million bucks. Emery is as good as he is. Sure buddy. I guess what’s holding Luongo back from being worthy of any money is his lack of goal-scoring.

    • Reidja

      In big games Grant Fuhr was said to have let in weak goals but rarely a game winner. That’s a money goalie. Who cares what Lu’s historical data is because when it really counts he fumbles everytime. We are lucky as Canadians to win Olympic Gold as that final game should have never gone to OT. Bobby Lu should be considered lucky. I’m with Brent Lu’s a douche and an overpaid keeper.

      • Reidja

        Thank you Marcus! Im not saying hes a terrible goalie or anything but hes not the best by any means either. You can find stats to say anything but at the end of the day when the game was on the line I can think of a handful of goalies I would rather have in net than Luongo (many at lower prices) because theres a good chance he’ll falter (i.e. Olympics) whereas others will be clutch.

        He isn’t worth the $$ to Vancouver either. I strongly believe he has very little impact on the success of that team and they are better off with an Emery at a much lower price. They would have still won the division and beaten L.A. Maybe even beaten L.A. in fewer games because Lu looked like a big sack of sh*t in that series.

        At the end of the day that was just my point as to why I didnt like the NHL looking to retract these contracts because it actually would be beneficial to Vancouver in particular if they could get out of that contract altogether (and I want them to fail more than anything). It was a big mistake and stupid contract. I dont think anyone can deny signing him to 42 (44?) is really stupid.

    • Reidja

      I just reviewed your response again Lawrence and you know what? Your right! Raffi Torres is not better than Ovechkin, although 9 Torres is better than Ovechkin.

      People tend to get hung up on these out of this world players at extremely high cap hits when you legitimately can build a successful franchise around 1 star player (5 to 7 mill) and a bunch of good to very good players. Its all about value per $ at the end of the day. And for the record of course Torres isnt better but lets not forget which player played a relatively big role in getting his team to the finals whereas the other has never been out of the second round… While on that note Oilers and Flames both went to the finals with one star player in that price range (Pronger, Iggy respectively) and a bunch of good players providing great value for their contracts.

      Now back to Lu! Lu’s value is limited because his play doesnt warrant the salary, particularly given the goalie market now. Vancouver would have more success having a cheap goalie in net who is capable and provides excellent value for the contract and using those excess dollars on a good forward or defender (likely defender in their case). This is what has been stated around these parts for SO long. That player will have a higher impact on making Vancouver better than Lu will himself.

      Maybe I’m wrong and dont get hockey but is Detroit, Chicago, and Philly wrong? They put that model to work and have had huge success with it. You should email their respective GM’s to point out how wrong they are; MORONS!

  • Reidja

    “That’s a bit Commie in its line of thinking but given that player $$ is tied to revenues I don’t think the capitalist model is valid”


    Can anyone see the league requiring that Luongo become an FA outright? I don’t think that’s in keeping with current theme of taking the fight to the players because that would punish the club. The comish is really laying the boots to Fehr right off the bat. Some egos may get bruised here I just hope the fans don’t suffer in the end.

  • Reidja

    I’m just going to toss this out there, and it’s a close call, but $ for production I might take Bobby Lou over Kipper with their current contracts. Yeah, they might both be over paid by current standards but aren’t current standards based on the flavor of the day resulting from other teams reacting to the make up of the 2010 cup finalists? I think Kipper and Lou both have a better chance of winning than Niemi on any given game day but I’d take Bobby first. No question though, there’s about 2 to 3 mil per season being paid to each that might not be if their contracts were being drafted today.

  • Reidja

    I really do think that the Roberto Luongo deal is a good one for the Canucks, at least in the short term. Having Lu as the ninth highest paid goalie in the league is a steal.

    Most of your basis for saying Luongo is a sack of shit was based on two very bad playoff series’ against a very talented Chicago team. This past season the Canucks defense was completely destroyed and did him no favours. If you watched that series you saw the Canucks give up a ton of oddman rushes and breakaways.

    I’m not saying Lu didn’t struggle last year but his struggles were also the teams. After Mitchell went out and our defense became a revolving door the Canucks gave up an average of a goal more per game.

    as for the Olympics, he was good enough to win a freaking Gold Medal, and he was far from the only goalie to give up soft goals at the tournament. Did you watch Kipper? Brodeur? Nabokov? and how about the softest goal of the tournament, Crosby’s golden goal let in by the Vezina winner Mr. Miller.

    At 5.3 Lu has a very good chance of outplaying the contract and that’s all you can ask. Long term we will see but I am happy the NHL will not void the deal as a Nuck fan.

    Oh, and as far as excuses go, those were not given by Luongo but rather the Vancouver media who are experts at that sort of thing.