The Vancouver Canucks were unable to shed Roberto Luongo’s hefty contract at the trade deadline, but they are expected to have the one player they did acquire on the ice when they try to avoid a third consecutive loss.
Vancouver (19-11-6) again tried to deal Luongo and his 12-year, $64 million contract that still has nine seasons remaining after 2013, but there were no takers before Wednesday’s deadline.
“My contract sucks,” said Luongo, who is 7-4-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average and has only made one relief appearance over the last eight games. “That’s what the problem is, and unfortunately it’s a big factor in trading me and it’s probably why I am still here. … I’d scrap it if I could right now.”
Luongo, however, stated that he’s relieved - at least for the rest of this season - even though Cory Schneider has taken over the starting role.
“It’s nice to get past this point and really focus and doing what I can do to help this team. Things have been emotionally tough,” he said.
Tied with Minnesota for first place in the Northwest Division, Vancouver’s only deadline move was the acquisition of Roy from Dallas in exchange for defenseman Kevin Connauton and a second-round pick. In his ninth season, Roy had four goals and 18 assists in 30 games with the Stars.
One of each came in his three games versus Edmonton (16-13-7).
Though injured forwards Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond appear close to returning to the ice, Roy adds immediate reinforcement for a Vancouver team that was outscored 7-2 while losing two in a row following a six-game winning streak.
The Canucks fell behind 3-0 before Chris Higgins and Alex Burrows scored in a 3-2 loss at San Jose on Monday.
“You look at all the good teams and they are scoring three goals a game,” said Higgins, who has two goals with an assist in three games after being held without a point in the previous eight. “We can’t expect to win scoring twice.”
Vancouver has managed only five goals while losing two of three to the Oilers, including 4-0 at Edmonton on Saturday. Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves in that contest, and allowed two goals on the first two shots he faced Wednesday before the Oilers scored eight unanswered for an 8-2 rout at Calgary.
Taylor Hall had a goal with four assists, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added one with three assists, and Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov each scored twice for Edmonton, which owns the eighth and final playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference.
The Oilers have outscored their last five opponents 25-7 during the team’s longest winning stretch since a six-game run Oct. 22-Nov. 3, 2011. They have not been to the playoffs since 2005-06.
“Obviously it’s been a few years of rebuilding and we want to take the next step,” Nugent-Hopkins, who has 10 assists in his last six games, told the NHL’s official website. “We’re ready to do that and all of us here are excited about this opportunity that we have. We’re ready to make a playoff push.”
Hall, who recorded his third career hat trick against the Canucks on Saturday, has seven goals and eight assists in his past six games.
The Oilers acquired winger Jerred Smithson from Nashville on Wednesday, but he is not expected to join the team until this weekend as his wife is due to give birth to their first child.