Las Vegas has begun taking bets on which will come to an end first, Roberto Luongo's new contract or the earth's sun.
Three years ago anyone with a keyboard or a mic gleefully ripped into New York Islanders GM Garth Snow for giving his goaltender Rick DiPietro a 15-year, $67-million dollar deal. Something tells me on Lu's deal, Canuck boss Mike Gillis will be given the key to the city, a city that will have long ushered in its flying cars program by the time this contract is honoured.
With a cap hit of just 5.3 million starting in 2010-11 the Luongo deal makes perfect sense going forward for the next half dozen or so front-loaded years. Playing till he's 42? Unlikely. Both Luongo and Gillis know that the loophole they've cleverly used to circumvent the salary cap will be closing faster than a bull's arse during fly season.
With the Sedins secured for the next five seasons, Gillis has managed to get the best three players on the team to buy into his (take less money for the good of the team) vision. This will no doubt have a trickle down effect. Next up to the (not so full) plate: Ryan Kesler.
The real upside to a long term contract like this is it's ability to attract better quality players in the future. I can see a scenario where a prominent UFA would gladly opt for less money for the opportunity to come to Vancouver and play on a team led by a cup hungry Roberto Luongo. Stars have a way of attracting other stars.
When history writes itself this signing could ultimately be the biggest the franchise has ever made. The opportunity to secure a goaltender of this calibre for the long haul comes around about as often as Halley's comet, which incidentally is due back in our skies in 2061 just a few short years after Luongo's deal expires.