Toronto Maple Leafs: Examining Brian Burke’s Roberto Luongo trade story

Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Roberto Luongo Vancouver Canucks Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Brian Burke Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

After Brian Burke claimed the Toronto Maple Leafs were in genuine contention for Roberto Luongo, we take a deeper look at the potential trade scenario.

On Thursday, we looked at five what if scenarios for the Toronto Maple Leafs, based on if the 2019-20 season does not restart. Now we have a what if scenario from several years ago to consider, courtesy of Brian Burke.

As reported by Sportsnet, the Leafs apparently almost acquired Roberto Luongo while Burke was the Leafs’ president and general manger. However, Burke was fired in January 2013 before he had a chance to make the deal.

This leads to a number of questions. As such, let’s take a deeper look into the potential trade scenario:

1) The cost of trading for Luongo

The first thing to consider, is what the Leafs would have had to give up in exchange for acquiring Luongo. According to Burke, the Vancouver Canucks were asking for Jake Gardiner, Nazem Kadri and two first round draft picks.

Certainly this sounds like an awful lot to give up, no matter how good Luongo was at the time. In fairness to Burke, he does say this was too step and you have to wonder what he would have countered with if he hadn’t been fired?

Losing Gardiner might be an easier pill for a lot of Leafs fans to swallow given his ill-timed defensive lapses, highlighted by his Game 7 first round performance against the Boston Bruins in the 2018 NHL playoffs. However, this is with the benefit of hindsight; at the time he was viewed as a talented blue-liner with excellent upside.

Kadri was similarly perceived as an intriguing talent who excited a lot of people in the front office. He would go on to finish with 44 points in 48 games during the lookout-shortened 2012-13 season.

The last part to consider in all of this is which two first round picks the Canucks would have received. As noted by Josh Gold-Smith of theScore, the Leafs drafted Frederik Gauthier 21st overall in 2013, William Nylander eighth overall in 2014 and Mitch Marner fourth overall in 2015.

Even here though, it isn’t as simple as considering who the Leafs went on to pick. If they had acquired Luongo this would have potentially impacted their draft positioning for the seasons mentioned.