In his first interview since the Vancouver Canucks' season ended, goalie Roberto Luongo says "it's time to move on."
Luongo has been the subject of much trade speculation since the Canucks were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Kings, and he spoke candidly about that with Vancouver radio station CFOX on Friday from Las Vegas, where he's participating in the World Series of Poker event.
Asked on the Jeff O'Neil Show whether Luongo expected to be wearing a Canucks sweater in the fall, the 33-year-old netminder said, "I would never say never, you never know. I think we all know what's going on and seen what's developed, and at the end of the day, it's time to move on and I'm OK with that.
"I've had a great six years in Vancouver. I think its a wonderful city, I really enjoyed my time there. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bring a Stanley Cup there, which was probably my biggest regret. But it will be remembered for six great years."
Luongo told reporters in May that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause, and potential suitors that have been bandied about include the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The terms of Luongo's contract could make a trade difficult, however. There are 10 seasons left on the 12-year deal he signed in 2010 and it carries a salary cap hit of $5.33 million US per season.
"Maybe [the contract]'s a bit of a handicap for me right now to be able to decide as far as how many teams are really interested in my services," Luongo said. "There's a few teams on there that I'd be willing to look at.
"Obviously Florida is my home in the off-season and makes sense, [there are] family reasons why [but] at the end of the day it's hockey, also. There’s not many years left in my career even though I got a long contract; I want to be focused on a chance to do something."
Luongo's days in Vancouver clearly numbered
Asked whether he’d tell Canucks GM Mike Gillis he'd use his no-trade clause to remain in Vancouver, Luongo said it was clear his days in Vancouver are numbered.
"I think it’s really time to move on, I don’t think it was either one of us, either I demanded a trade or Mike suggest I leave, but I think it was more of a mutual understanding that it was time for me to go and Cory [Schneider] to take over."
Luongo was asked Friday about how he learned that Schneider was being signed to the lucrative contract.
"Nobody called me, but I think that was to be expected. We've all seen what he's done in Vancouver the last couple of years," said Luongo. "He's a tremendous talent. The main thing that I like about him is that he's a got a great head on his shoulders.
"He's a player that's going to be able to handle the job and handle the market with that pressure. He's going to be a star in this league, there's no question about that, and he's going to probably win a few Vezinas."
The Canucks acquired Luongo in a trade with the Florida Panthers in 2006. He has 339 career wins in the NHL with 60 shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average and a .919 saves percentage.
Since arriving in British Columbia, Luongo has led Vancouver to the playoffs five times. The Canucks have also won the President's Trophy for the league's best regular season record the past two years.
He has 32 wins in 61 playoff appearances with a 2.53 GAA and a .916 saves percentage.With files from The Canadian Press