Back and Forth: Lou for Vinny

A few days ago, a rumour popped up about a trade between the Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning. It basically said that the Canucks should trade Roberto Luongo for Vincent Lecavalier straight up. Kyle Busch and Brian Raiger play devil's advocate with each other in this edition of Back and Forth.

TO VANCOUVER: Vincent Lecavalier

TO TAMPA BAY: Roberto Luongo

Vancouver Canucks Perspective:

Brian Raiger: I think a trade like this wouldn't do anything for Vancouver right now. it is early in the season, and Canucks fans know that Luongo's game comes late. That being said, his last start (against Nashville)was stellar. He only allowed one goal. If we did acquire Lecavalier it wouldn't make sense, Vancouver is running two solid centremen (with Sedin and Kesler). Bringing Vinny in as a third liner is an insult to his playing ability and it wouldn't fit the grit that Malhotra has.

Kyle Busch: Lecavalier wouldn't be a third liner on the Canucks, and who is to say that they would play him at center? The Lightning have molded him into a two way player and he isn't a pure goal scorer like he used to be. He brings more to the table. Even if he was a third line center, he would be the best third liner in the league. His points total would only go up.

BR: I don't see how Lecavalier would adapt right away into Vancouver's system. Yes, he is a playmaker, but why try to juggle lines right now? We know that the top line of Sedin-Sedin-Burrows can produce, and now with a healthy Kesler back, it only makes the second line stronger. Yes, Cody Hodgson is on that line, but I believe a guy like Kesler will only benefit Hodgson's true skill that Canucks fans have been waiting for. The only place I can see Lecavalier playing is the third line (as of now) replacing Sturm (on the wing), and even if he did that, his minutes would be shortened from what he is used to and capable of playing. You might think, "Put Hodgson down on the third line and bump up Vinny," but Hodgson plays right wing, and I don't think he is the type of player this early in his career to be a gritty third liner.

KB: Cody Hodgson has been hyped for too long now. Lecavalier is clearly a better option, and money isn't even that big of a deal. Luongo's cap hit is $5.3 Million, and Vinny's is $7.7, so the Canucks add a couple million to the cap hit. Vancouver's salary cap space would be around $7 million for next season to resign their free agents, including Cory Schneider. Why keep Luongo and lose Schneider for nothing in free agency? Schneider is a first round pick and hasn't been given a chance to start. The only big names to resign next year are Sami Salo, Mason Raymond and Schneider.

BR: The Hodgson hype is still around, due to the fact he isn't injured, and now that he is healthy, he can prove that he isn't a bust. Yes, Schneider is also a number one draft pick, but I believe this year is Luongo's big test. He brought Olympic Gold, and I believe now he has his swagger back (if you saw the interview before the Nashville game, you know what I mean). With those two things, and a physical change (his mask) I believe that this brings a whole new confidence to him. Schneids has no problem being Luongo's understudy, and he knows when called on, he WILL be ready (Coach V already said he will be using Schneids more this year too). I think most Canucks fans will want to see how the team looks by the end of November before making any blockbuster deals. We just got Booth from Florida, so lets see how he fits in our system and how our team reacts from there. This is no shot to Vinny Lecavalier, but at this time in the season, there is no need to trade for him. Plus in regards to free agents next year, I believe Salo will be retiring, Raymond will stay with the club (he is a fan favourite and we will contend again next year). Schneider is a whole new story, he may leave if he can become a starter elsewhere. If that is the case, Eddie Lack has been solid the last two years and would be a perfect understudy for Bobby Lou.

KB: Well, I guess we'll see if Hodgson pans out, and if Luongo doesn't perform and Schneider walks in free agency, there may be another riot in Vancouver this summer. As for Salo retiring, that only adds more cap space for the Nucks. Maybe the way to do it the right way is to wait for free agency.

Tampa Bay Lightning Perspective:

KB: With Steve Yzerman at the helm, there is absolutely no way he will trade his captain. Even though Tampa has a 42 year old in net (Dwayne Roloson), they got to the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Luongo is a great goalie, but Yzerman won't want to spend that much on him.

BR: This deal could be a win-win for both teams: Tampa would get a solid number one goaltender in Luongo, and Vancouver would gain added depth in the top six forwards. Yes, Luongo is a bit hefty in price, but releasing Dwayne Roloson may be the best option for Tampa and keep Garon as a nice back-up for Luongo. Plus you never know, Luongo and Garon could have a nice segment called Quebec in the Crease.

KB: I'll take that as a joke! Rolie and Garon played together in Long Island so they have chemistry and know each other well. Getting rid of Roloson isn't a good move. Even though he's old he has the skills to win games for Tampa. Yzerman learned from Ken Holland in Detroit, and their game plan was to sink as much money into defence, and worry about goaltending later. If you watched the playoffs, that's how Tampa won. They used a trap and let Roloson see a reduced number of shots. This should equal wins. If they let go of Lecavalier, the top line would see number one defensive pairings more often, thus limiting St. Louis and Stamkos' effectiveness. Lecavalier is a great second line type.

BR: Look what happened in Long Island - nothing. If Tampa wants to win the Eastern Conference, and eventually the Stanley Cup, they need to have a solid #1 goaltender who does not need a walker to get across the crease. Yes, Rolie was a good addition last year, but look at him so far this year, he has been garbage. Luongo will only help them in net, and Tampa can go from there. They already have a good defensive core, and by solidifying that with a key goalie, they will be successful. Losing their captain might make things tougher on the top line, but aren't top line players supposed to be able to work harder and play longer? Maybe move up forwards,or bring up a prospect like Tyler Smith? Vinny has served his time in Tampa, but one knew it was only time before the Stamkos era took over. Vinny could solidify a 2nd or 3rd line for the Canucks, heck, maybe even the first line! Yzerman knows that he will need to replace Rolie this season, and why not get an elite goaltender in Luongo? Schneider is ready to take the reins in Vancouver, and Eddie Lack is ready to back him up.

KB: Tampa can always wait until the trade deadline, as could the Canucks. I think we can both agree that this wouldn't be the time for a trade anyway. But in all seriousness, if this was to come up at the deadline, I still wouldn't do it if I was the Lightning. They could easily look elsewhere for a starter if Roloson isn't cutting it (because Garon is definitely not a starter). The Lightning have two very solid lines, losing Vinny would kill them. Their number three center is Dominic Moore, who is strictly a checker. We all know Stamkos is the heir to the throne, but to take on the captaincy at such a young age isn't fair, ask Yzerman, he would know. I would look for the Bolts to wait until the trade deadline to do something, if anything, about their goaltending situation. Maybe even free agency (can you say Pekka Rinne?)

BR: Well my friend, we both have our thoughts on this, though mine is better. Both teams could benefit, but in the end it comes up to the GM's. Both Gillis and Yzerman are smart men and will do what is best for both of their respected teams. I guess we can both agree to disagree

KB: I disagree.

Brian Raiger & Kyle Busch