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Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers

Mar 4, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

Didn’t I tell you this was possible? OK, so all the maybes I used…

…doesn’t make it quite as impressive, but this deal makes sense for a number of reasons.

— Florida was always Luongo’s first choice as a destination, for family reasons. It was even reported in June of 2012 that the Panthers were “getting ready” for his return. Now, with new, aggressive ownership in Florida, along with the Canucks apparently agreeing to take on some of Luongo’s salary, the time was right.

— Even after Cory Schneider was traded to New Jersey at the draft, it was pretty obvious that Luongo still wanted out of Vancouver. What happened this weekend at the Heritage Classic didn’t help his happiness.

— I’m not sure Mike Gillis drew it up quite like this, but in Markstrom and Lack, the Canucks now have two young, cheap goalies. There’s no guarantee either will pan out in the long term, but then again, there’s no telling how Luongo, soon to be 35, will perform either. Remember that Schneider also netted the Canucks Bo Horvat with the ninth overall pick in the draft, and he could turn out to be a key player in the near future.

Shawn Matthias is a player the Canucks have been interested in for some time now.

Per TEAM 1040, here’s audio of Luongo talking about the trade.

“It’s nice. It’s home,” he said of being traded to Florida. “The new ownership there is committed to winning. There’s some good, young players there. It’s a good opportunity for me.”

Related: New Panthers prez is ‘incredibly optimistic’ about franchise’s future

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