Roberto Luongo looking over the shoulders of Panthers goalies Clemmensen and Theodore
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.