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Luongo: ‘I thought my contract was untradable’

Mar 4, 2014, 7:09 PM EST

Roberto Luongo Getty Images

To hear Roberto Luongo explain it, Tuesday’s blockbuster move to Florida never seemed possible.

“I thought my contract was untradable,” Luongo said, per the Miami Herald. “It hurt I didn’t play [Sunday vs. Ottawa in Heritage Classic] but I was ready to play tonight. I moved on, was ready to go.

“I wasn’t expecting this to happen, especially not today.”

The 34-year-old ‘tender was shipped to Florida in exchange for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias, with Vancouver retaining 15 percent of Luongo’s salary (a figure confirmed by Panthers GM Dale Tallon via conference call.) It was a big, bold trade that signified a changing of the guard for both organizations.

In discussing the move, Tallon praised Luongo as an “elite” goalie while acknowledging the Panthers needed to “make a statement.” On that, it’s worth noting Tallon repeatedly mentioned that Luongo still holds clout in Florida, a popular figure from his time with the organization from 2002-06.

“He’s excited, just over the moon about coming back,” Tallon said. “He’s already been in the community and is a very popular figure in the community.”

From the Florida perspective, the big narrative is how the organization took on one of the NHL’s largest deals — in what now feels like a move designed to “make a statement” in addition to improving the on-ice product. Tallon talked about how the Luongo acquisition “sets the tone” for what the club wants to do moving forward, echoing statements made yesterday by new team president Rory Babich, who spoke optimistically about the future of the franchise.

“We’re incredibly optimistic,” Babich said, per the Miami Herald. “[Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu] bought the team with the belief it can be very successful in South Florida. Dale and I certainly share that vision. That’s why we’re both here today.”

Luongo acknowledged what his move to Florida signified as well.

“It’s nice, it’s home,” he said. “It’s going to be a little tough to get in this season but we’ll have to deal with that. The new ownership there is committed to winning and there are some good young players there.

“This is a good opportunity for me.”

  1. thomasvanek - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    When it says VAN retained 15% of his salary, does that mean for this year or the remainder of the contract?

    • govtminion - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:22 PM

      I get the impression it’s for the contract length.

    • valoisvipers - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      It is for the length of the contract.

    • jernster21 - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      Remainder according to capgeek. There are also stiff penalties for both teams, especially Vancouver should Luongo retire before the end of the contract.

      • shortsxit34 - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        Does the 15% actually count against the salary cap, or is it just what the players get paid?

      • jernster21 - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:54 PM

        I believe they can retain salary without it counting against the cap. That’s why cap conscious teams can make trades with “rich” teams, have them retain salary (I believe there’s a maximum that can be retained) in favor of a sweetener in the way of an extra prospect or draft pick. Not saying that really applied in this case considering the contract is so big that if they really wanted to get rid of it then they would have had to be willing to eat some of it.

      • dueman - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        It counts against the cap. It works out to $800,000 against Vancouver’s cap for the remainder of the contract. Till the 2022 season.

  2. pfhockey - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Thomas-Luongo Tandem lol!!!

  3. arbruins - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Now they can pump tires in the same locker room

  4. tru2joelu4eva - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    am i the only one that thinks he looks kind of like prince in that picture?

  5. thesportsjudge - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    I am curious what Fla’s record was since they shipped him up to Van and have now re-acquired him.

    Not gonna lie, I am just too sick and lazy to look it up.

  6. valoisvipers - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    See, just like our good friend Blomfeld said would happen, did “Bobby Lou has gone back home.”

    • blomfeld - Mar 4, 2014 at 8:49 PM

      ONE OF SATAN’S LIEUTENANTS ?

      Well at least that’s what always first comes to my mind whenever I see this unflattering picture of Luongo ! :)

      Thank you Valoisvipers. The truth is that this is ‘exactly’ what Luongo’s wanted for almost two years now and it should have been obvious for all to see, especially Canuck Nation. But as the old saying goes … “nothing is more blinding than true love” …

      _____________________________________________________________

      blomfeld – Mar 4, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      Nonetheless, the bottom line remains that things are now ‘going to happen’ here in Vancouver and those things do ‘not’ involve Ryan Kesler ! On the contrary, this Kesler business is nothing more than a ‘diversion’ which has been cleverly concocted in-order to fool the sheep and mask what’s ‘really’ about to go down. In fact, I would submit that what ‘inexplicably’ took place yesterday at BC Place (ie: the benching of Luongo) will now become self-explanatory with developments over the coming 36 hours … even for the many ‘anti-social’ sheep who frequent this website !

  7. thebigwhitecat - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    We Hawks fans thought Brian Campbell’s contract was untradeable, too, Roberto.

    Not when you’re dealin’ with Dale!

    • 19to77 - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Dale Tallon, the waste disposal system of the NHL.

  8. spezzdispenser - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Good for him, enjoy being free of the morons of Vancouver.

    • thesublimeylimey - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:42 AM

      Too right. They treated him like he was the sole reason for their awful performances.

  9. bleedrangerblue - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Stupid move. I’m being nice here. Glad I’m not a Panthers fan

  10. blomfeld - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL ? … NOT A CHANCE ! :)

  11. vbcaps - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    I hope this helps Florida. They haven’t been very good and the fans will show up if product improves

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      wow, someone from outside of florida who actually thinks that.

  12. whalepod - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    Mike Gillis – “You know what they say… Once you go Lack, you never go back. “

  13. katra2logic - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:46 AM

    Off with their heads! This should be the rallying call of Canuck fans as management goes from having two of the best goaltenders in the league to zilch in less than two years after trading Lou for a hockey stick and bag of pucks tonight. The hiring of Johnny T as head coach has been a complete disaster also. Off with their heads! :-)

  14. withseidelinn - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    Not sure how this will ever benefit FLA. They gave up their goalie of the foreseeable future, while getting a 34 year old goalie in return who will be contemplating retirement by the time the Panthers are good enough to make a splash. When all Florida’s rookies are ready to make an impact, they’ll just be looking for a goalie again.

  15. patshal - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    I have a feeling there is going to be a murder in Florida soon! Lol

  16. 12is3times4 - Mar 5, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Well, once the inevitable Stadium Series game at Marlins Park finally happens, at least Luongo will get to play in that.

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