Category Archives: Florida Panthers
With his large Vancouver Canucks hockey bag slung over one shoulder, goalie Roberto Luongo walked out of the Panthers facility Monday morning.
“See you next week,” Luongo told a member of the Coral Springs Iceplex’s staff before heading out the door.
Luongo flew to Vancouver on Tuesday to participate in the Canucks’ charity golf tournament and continue his informal offseason workouts with his teammates.
If the NHL owners lockout their players as expected come Saturday night, Luongo plans to continue his workouts in South Florida.
So, once Luongo leaves Vancouver, will he return?
“I have no idea what is going to happen,” he said.
Luongo, who played with Florida from 2000-05, wants to return to the Panthers.
It appears there is mutual interest, too. Panthers general manager Dale Tallon spoke to the Canucks about a potential trade in June, but talks have cooled.
The Canucks are said to want a number of Florida’s top young players in return for Luongo. However, the Panthers aren’t interested in parting with any of their future building blocks. Nothing will happen on the trade front until labor issues are settled.
For Luongo, it appears his time in Vancouver is over.
In a bizarre, slightly uncomfortable scene at Saveology.com Iceplex Tuesday morning, current Panthers starter Jose Theodore was beginning an informal practice with several teammates just moments after estranged Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo had finished his own skate.
Luongo has made it clear that since Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis promoted goalie Cory Schneider to starter after giving him a three-year, $12 million contract extension, that he wants to be traded to the Panthers, the franchise he established his All-Star credentials with from 2001-06 and back to an area he maintains an offseason residence with his wife and two young children.
So, Luongo was literally about to sneak out the back door to avoid a potentially awkward situation for fellow Quebec native Theodore, whose job he covets. Luongo spoke to the Sun Sentinel before leaving.
“It’s been a tough summer, not knowing what’s going to happen … with your family and everything,” Luongo told the Sun Sentinel while changing inside the cramped visitor’s locker room a few feet from where the Panthers were skating.
“[The Panthers] makes sense for myself, for my career and my family,” added Luongo, who has 10 years at $5.33 million per remaining on his deal. “This is a preferred location for obvious reasons, but I’m not shutting the door on other possibilities.”
Luongo, 33, has been linked to the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs, both with glaring needs for an elite goalie. Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon has repeatedly said he’s content with his current goalie trio, that includes Theodore, Scott Clemmensen and promising Swede Jacob Markstrom.
Luongo has 10 years left on the 12-year contract with Vancouver, and it appears there is interest on all three sides (Vancouver, Florida and Luongo) to get a deal done. Luongo is said to have agreed to waive his no-trade clause to come back to Florida — where he and his family reside for much of the offseason.
Scott Clemmensen, Florida’s backup the past three seasons, will be a free agent Sunday.
Tallon said the Canucks and Panthers talked “goaltending” at last weekend’s draft without mentioning Luongo by name; Santos said Friday there have been no talks about it since.
Florida could also have interest in future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur if he were to leave New Jersey after two decades with the Devils — possibly because of concerns with team ownership. Brodeur owns a home in Palm Beach County and won’t come cheap.
Of the free agents who played for Florida last season, it’s possible Jason Garrison played his final game with the Panthers, although he could still sign with the team.
Garrison, who made an average of $675,000 the past two seasons, could garner $5 million per season on the open market after he scored a career-high 16 goals. Florida has reportedly offered Garrison around $3.5 million per season.
“We’ve kept the line of communications open,” Santos said. “But when you get this close to July 1, typically, the player wants to see what his options are.”
The Panthers have spoken to Clemmensen and forwards Krys Barch and Mikael Samuelsson about returning — and it’s possible the Panthers bring some or all of them back. The Panthers waived Mike Santorelli and Matt Bradley on Thursday.
Florida has quite a bit of money to spend to get to the raised salary cap floor, so don’t be surprised if the Panthers make some big moves.
While Vancouver Canucks starter-to-be Cory Schneider says he’ll take his time to sign a new deal, the team probably wants to get that whole Roberto Luongo mess cleaned up sooner rather than later. Darren Dreger provides the latest update on that front: the Florida Panthers remain the “frontrunner.” The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, appear to be lagging behind.
Bob McKenzie paraphrases Dreger as such:
Insider Trading hilites: @DarrenDreger says dialogue continues between FLA and VAN on Luongo. Not so much TOR and VAN. FLA frontrunner.
Plenty has been made of the Panthers’ interest in bringing back Luongo; it’s even clear that the team’s ownership seems OK with his lengthy, risky contract. It appears that Luongo wants to go back to Florida, too, as a report surfaced that he wouldn’t accept a swap to two other interested parties in Toronto and the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Incumbent: James Reimer, 24, signed through 2013-14
Goals against in 2011-12: 259 (29th in NHL)
Goals against, 5v5: 182 (29th in NHL)
Why here: In his season-ending news conference, general manager Brian Burke said the Leafs had tried and failed to acquire a veteran goaltender before the trade deadline. When asked about trying his luck this summer, he said: “We’ll have to see what the options are, and what the price tags are.” Reimer had a save-percentage of .900 last season — Luongo had a .919
Incumbent: José Theodore, signed through 2012-13
Goals against in 2011-12: 216 (12th in NHL)
Goals against, 5v5: 144 (8th in NHL)
Why here: If the Tampa Bay Lightning have removed themselves from the market with the acquisition of Anders Lindback from Nashville last week, the Panthers would become another intriguing trading partner for the Canucks. Luongo played five seasons with the Panthers
Incumbent: Corey Crawford, 27, signed through 2013-14
Goals against in 2011-12: 231 (22nd in NHL)
Goals against, 5v5: 170 (27th in NHL)
Why here: According to capgeek.com, the Blackhawks have 23 players under contract, with about US$8.2-million left under the cap. That would leave more than enough space to fit Luongo.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Incumbent: Steve Mason, 24, signed through 2012-13
Goals against in 2011-12: 257 (28th in NHL)
Goals against, 5v5: (166 (26th in NHL)
Why here: Columbus finished 46 points behind Vancouver, holding the polar opposite position in the NHL standings.
Incumbent: Roberto Luongo, signed through 2022-23, Cory Schneider, restricted free agent on July 1
Goals against in 2011-12: 191 (4th in NHL)
Goals against, 5v5: 135 (6th in NHL)
Why here: Gillis has the laws of supply and demand working in his favour. The supply of proven or potential starters has dwindled, with Lindback (Tampa Bay, via trade with Nashville)
Luongo’s stock skyrockets after Penguins snap-up Vokoun
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis took a couple of days off this weekend to go fishing and clear his head for the decision-making process which is about to begin in earnest over the next couple of days. And while he did that, he and his team got lucky.
At least that’s the way it would appear to anyone watching the goaltending situation.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins snaring of Tomas Vokoun from Washington to back up Marc-Andre Fleury for the next two seasons Monday, and Tim Thomas announcing he was going to sit out next season, the chances of improving the return on any Roberto Luongo deal just took a significant leap forward.
Pens GM Ray Shero seemed to catch others who would have liked to consider Vokoun for their own organizations napping with his pre-July 1 strike, giving up just a seventh-round draft pick to leave teams like Toronto, Chicago and Tampa with their pants at half mast. And assuming Thomas does indeed wish to step away from the game as he says, this leaves the number of experienced available goaltenders depleted by two pretty good players.
Coral Springs Panthers General Manager Randy Sexton said Saturday that he has moved closer to making a number of possible trades, but stressed he’s not auctioning off players between now and Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline.
“Make no mistake — there will be no fire sale,” Sexton said.