NHL trade deadline: Maple Leafs targeting Kiprusoff, Luongo, but why?

Frederick Breedon

The trade talk about the Maple Leafs being interested in a number of veteran netminders is heating up, but the logic says they should be content with what they have.

Perhaps the biggest storyline of the actual day of the NHL Trade Deadline is what will happen with Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. At the center of the speculation sit the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been reportedly working to get Luongo all season long yet now appear to be just as interested in Kiprusoff, who comes with some very real red flags in the midst of a very poor season.

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports that the Maple Leafs had talks with both the Flames and the Canucks on Tuesday, with the Canucks likely lowering their asking price after acquiring Derek Roy and seeing the renewed interest in Kiprusoff:

I'm told the Maple Leafs had more dialogue with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday about Miikka Kiprusoff, but at the same time, the Leafs and Vancouver Canucks also conversed Tuesday regarding good ol' Roberto Luongo, a source told ESPN.com.

For the Canucks, the dynamics have changed. They don't need a center anymore after getting Roy from Dallas. So the Canucks can live with a winger, for example, in a Toronto deal if the Leafs wanted to make a move on Luongo.

Damien Cox of the Toronto Starfeels that Kiprusoff presents the only "sensible" option for the Maple Leafs, saying that Toronto could receive a motivated player while Luongo has apparently tried to block a trade to the Leafs in the past. Bob Mitchell, meanwhile, says that messing with team chemistry can be a dangerous game for a team in the middle of a playoff race.

It's tough to understand exactly why the Leafs would be interested in either goaltender at this point in the season, and it's even harder to understand why any team would be interested in Kiprosoff after how this season has gone for the veteran netminder.

Luongo has played just once since March 18 and after a strong start to the season as a tandem with Cory Schneider, has struggled with consistency the path month or so. Luongo has allowed less than three goals in a game just twice in his past seven games, including an eight-goal shellacking at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings back in February. Compared to Kiprusoff, however, Luongo appears to be one heck of a better option.

Kiprusoff has suffered a precipitous dropoff in production this season, going 6-10-2 in 18 games while posting an abysmal .868 save percentage and a 3.64 goals-against average. There's also no guarantee that Kiprusoff will stick around for the final year of his contract, as reports have stated that the netminder had always planned to head back to Finland following the 2013 season.

There's also the fact that Ben Scrivens and James Reimer have both been better than either veteran goaltender this season, although it's now clear that Leafs GM Dave Nonis seems to be wary of the lack of postseason experience for either young netminder. Kiprusoff or Luongo could be seen as a good veteran mentor for Reimer in a playoff series, although what price Toronto would be willing to give up for a mentor might not match what either Vancouver or Calgary is asking for.

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