Mar 4, 2014, 7:09 PM EST
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.”
Jan 27, 2015, 1:35 AM EST
He’ll likely start Tuesday paired with Dan Hamhuis.
Jan 27, 2015, 12:30 AM EST
Latvia could soon have another NHLer to cheer for.
Jan 26, 2015, 11:30 PM EST
The Isles have won both meetings this season.
Jan 26, 2015, 10:25 PM EST
He’s missed 13 games recovering from surgery on his fractured left wrist.
Jan 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
Several players had to make alternate arrangements leaving the All-Star Game.
Jan 26, 2015, 8:35 PM EST
Expected to play Wednesday against the Leafs
Jan 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
He’s a repeat offender.
Jan 26, 2015, 7:10 PM EST
Teams have till noon eastern time Tuesday to place a claim on the forward.
Jan 26, 2015, 6:16 PM EST
The Avalanche are trying to claw their way into the playoffs.
Jan 26, 2015, 5:52 PM EST
Minnesota had three healthy goaltenders on its roster.
Jan 26, 2015, 4:59 PM EST
Who will play this week?
Jan 26, 2015, 4:22 PM EST
This might be the result of fighting in back-to-back games.
Jan 26, 2015, 3:31 PM EST
Will Mikhail Grabovski step up?
Jan 26, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
The post-All-Star Game portion of the season isn’t starting any better for Buffalo.
Jan 26, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
He’s been overseeing co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.
Jan 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EST
He didn’t end up playing in the All-Star Game.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:31 PM EST
Remember, the club opted not to amnesty his contract last June.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:23 PM EST
Canucks will give Frank Corrado a chance to show what he can do.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:12 PM EST
Columbus’ star center is having a nice little run at the moment.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:05 PM EST
They also summoned Josh Anderson.
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