The Roberto Luongo plot thickens.
But are the Maple Leafs still the frontrunner? Not if what Canucks general manager Mike Gillis is saying is true.
Gillis told the Vancouver Sun that the team has a potential deal in place involving the veteran goaltender.
The mystery team is “not who anybody thinks it is,” Gillis said.
Many observers have assumed that Luongo will wind up with the Leafs at some point. But Gillis, apparently, is pointing the speculation in another direction.
Centres Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri and a second-round draft pick have been in the bulk of rumours involving the Leafs and Canucks.
Bozak is due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but there is scuttlebutt that he could sign an extension with Toronto.
And let’s face it, when Kadri has scored two of the Leafs’ first three goals and coach Randy Carlyle has been pumping his tires, it would be hard to see him go west in trade.
Gillis told the Vancouver Sun that he is not seeing any offers that he likes.
“We’ve been offered packages that don’t fit what our plan is, what we need,” Gillis said. “(Teams would offer) excess salary coming back with a (throw-in) player who can’t play in our lineup. They say, ‘OK, we’ll do this, but you’ve got to take this.’ Well, we’re not taking it. We’ve had lots of proposals like that with good pieces that can help us but the other part doesn’t help us, and oftentimes they have term attached to them, so we’d just be turning around and buying out a guy.
“I’d rather keep the guy we know, who’s a good person.”
Luongo has said in the past he would waive his no-trade clause. It’s known he would not mind going back to the Florida Panthers. Still, don’t count the Leafs out just yet. As much as Gillis might be indicating it’s another team at the top of the list, Toronto still could be the place where Luongo winds up.