It’s no secert by now that Roberto Luongo is on his way out of Vancouver. All but usurped by the younger and cheaper Corey Schneider this year, word is the latter won’t sign with the team this offseason while the former is around. Also, the older guy has asked for a trade anyways.
When we discussed Kipper and the Flames other goaltending assets recently I noted this might be a good time to trade Kiprusoff this year, in part because of the dearth of other starter options on the market. There will probably be at least six teams looking for solutions in net this summer: Toronto, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Columbus, Florida and New Jersey (probably). Two of those clubs are likely to land Harding and Vokoun, who are the only worthwhile UFA options. That would have left the Flames auctioning Kipper to up to four motivated trade partners.
Luongo entering the fray obviously complicates things.
Although both Kipper and Luongo offer solutions for clubs desperate for competent netminding, they are very different assets for a variety of reasons:
– Luongo is 4 years younger, has a better recent track record and is signed long term.
– Kipper is older and not as good, but his contract is significantly less risk. While Luongo is signed until 2020, Kipper’s real salary falls to $5M next year and just $1.5M in the final season.
Luongo is a better long-term solution and more likely to put up a few more elite seasons. Kipper, on the hand, is a substantially smaller commitment. So while the Flames and Canucks will be marketing their wares to the same general collection of teams, each potential partner’s interest will not just swing on the availability of Kipper and Lou as well as other options (Harding, Vokoun), but also how they weight the particular benefits and risks associated with each guy.
Another variable in this dance is the fact that Vancouver more or less has to deal Luongo this off-season and he will have significant influence over where he ends up owing to his NTC. That should limit the Canuck’s leverage when it comes to some of the, uh, less desirable markets like Columbus.
The Flames, on the other hand, have the option to wait out Kipper’s NMC (which expires this July) and then auction off his services at their leisure. While this off-season represents perhaps the Flames best opportunity to leverage Kipper for a quality return, they aren’t going to be forced by external factors like a trade demand. The Flames can therefore market Kipper to a wider range of teams and can afford to wait for the best possible deal.
It will be interesting to see what happens with both guys going forward. Goalies are rarely dealt and don’t often command massive returna. Luongo has been a an elite puckstopper for years (albeit with a "choker" reputation) but his contract is onerous and his NTC and the impetus to deal him before the new years starts might limit the return for Vancouver. Kipper is older, closer to average, but has a less risky deal and can be traded to anyone at any time after July 1, so the Flames can afford to wait for the best trade possible.
Related: Mitch Smith of M&G has a thorough post on potential trade partners and returns for the Flames and Kipper this summer.