Goaltender Roberto Luongo, a two-time Olympic champion for Canada, was traded from Vancouver to Florida as a flurry of deals began on Tuesday, the eve of the National Hockey League (NHL) trade deadline.
Luongo backstopped Canada’s four knockout-round triumphs on the way to gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but was largely a backup behind Carey Price as Canada defended the crown last month in Sochi, Russia.
The 34-year-old netminder was drafted in 1997 by the New York Islanders and played for them briefly before joining the Florida Panthers for five seasons, before being traded to the Canucks in 2006.
With Vancouver, Luongo became the Canucks’ all-time wins and shutout leader and helped the team reach the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, losing it to the Boston Bruins in seven games.
Luongo, who turns 35 in a month, joins the Panthers’ current goalie Tim Thomas, who backstopped Boston over Vancouver in that final.
Luongo confirmed the move after reports of the deal broke by tweeting a palm tree.
He had been the subject of trade conjecture for years, but was especially disappointed to be benched for Sunday’s Heritage Classic game against Ottawa at Vancouver’s BC Place stadium.
Eddie Lack started that game at goaltender for Vancouver, as he has every game for the Canucks since play resumed following the Olympic break.
The deal also sent left wing Steve Anthony to Florida, with Vancouver getting center Shawn Matthias and goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
The Anaheim Ducks were also busy dealmaking with three trades ahead of yesterday’s deadline.
Anaheim sent left wing Dustin Penner to Washington for a fourth-round pick in this year’s NHL Draft, where he likely will play alongside NHL goals leader Alex Ovechkin and Swedish star Nicklas Backstrom.
Penner has 150 goals in 571 NHL games over 10 seasons with Los Angeles, Edmonton and Anaheim, having helped the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2007 and Los Angeles to the title in 2012.
Edmonton obtained goaltender Viktor Fasth from the Ducks in exchange for a mid-round draft pick this year and next year. The Oilers had earlier traded Russian goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to Minnesota.
The Ducks also acquired veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas from Dallas for this year’s fourth-round draft choice.
In other trades, the Montreal Canadiens acquired defenseman Mike Weaver from Florida Panthers for a fifth-round draft pick next year.
Philadelphia obtained defenseman Andrew MacDonald, the NHL leader with 198 blocked shots this season, from the New York Islanders for a third-round pick this year and a second-round pick next year, plus forward Matt Mangene.