Leafs almost pulled off a massive blockbuster trade in 2013, the results of which would have still been felt today
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY SEPTEMBER 5, 2023 (12:11)
Ahead of the trade deadline in the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, the Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks were reportedly discussing a trade package that had Roberto Luongo coming to Toronto for Nazem Kadri, Jake Gardiner, a 2013 first round pick (turned into Freddie Gauthier), and a 2014 first round pick (turned into William Nylander).
Luongo was coming off the heels of a 31-14-8 record with a .919 SV% and a 2.41 G.A.A in 2011-12 and had amassed a 307-224-41 record with a .920 SV% and a 2.35 G.A.A. in his 6 seasons with Vancouver prior to 2012-13. Luongo started to split his duties with Cory Schneider, who wound up starting 30 of the 48 games.
In the end, it never came to fruition as Brian Burke tweeted back in 2020 that they came very close but the asking price was too steep.
Luongo wound up being traded ahead of the trade deadline in 2014 the following season. Kadri wound up being a Maple Leaf until 2019 when he was traded to Colorado after a couple suspensions in the playoffs and Gardiner walked as a free agent in the same year.
A few scenarios that would have played out differently had Burke had the gumption to pull the trigger:
1) Toronto enters the 2013 playoffs with a tandem of Roberto Luongo and James Reimer and have a much better chance of defeating the Boston Bruins in the first round and potentially even going further with a likely Finals matchup against Chicago.
2) With Luongo in the fold, Toronto's window of contention is extended and they most likely hold onto Phil Kessel. This ultimately means that their plans for a rebuild are either extended or doesn't happen as planned.
3) The Leafs don't have the opportunity to draft William Nylander and most likely takes them out of the race for either Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews with better seasons between 2013-14 to 2016-17.
Luongo was a fantastic goaltender and in the prime of his career. Even after being traded from the Canucks, he wound up playing equally as well with the Panthers, sporting a 98-64-26 record, a .921 SV%, and a 2.44 G.A.A between 2014-15 and 2017-18. He certainly would've put the Leafs over the edge in 2013 and beyond.
This trade could be one of the biggest "what if's" in recent franchise history because it would've turned the tides of a very nightmarish decade with just one post-season run. However, it could have also meant that the Maple Leafs never got their hands on players like Nylander and Matthews and their eventual rebuild would've taken place a lot later.
So, are you glad Brian Burke didn't pull the trigger or would you have preferred sunnier days in the mid-2010s instead?
WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO HAVE SEEN THE LEAFS PULL OFF A TRADE FOR ROBERTO LUONGO IN 2013?
SEPTEMBER 5 146 ANSWERS
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