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Luongo won’t ‘fade into the sunset’ in Florida

Mar 11, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 9: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers defends the net against the Boston Bruins at the BB&T Center on March 9, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. The Bruins defeated the Panthers 5-2.(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) Getty Images

With the Canucks’ jaw dropping third-period collapse on Monday still fresh in everyone’s minds, is it crazy to think that 34-year-old goaltender Roberto Luongo‘s new team, the Florida Panthers, has a better chance of winning the Cup over the next four or five years than Vancouver?

There’s no question that Florida has had a bad season and frankly hasn’t done much since they made it to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final, but they got plenty of promising youngsters from Aleksander Barkov to Jonathan Huberdeau to Nick Bjugstad. That’s not enough, but it’s a start.

“It’s all about making a commitment to bringing some people in and trying to build a winner,” Luongo said, according to the Canadian Press. “That’s what it’s all about for me. I’m not here to fade into the sunset. I want to be part of something special coming here.”

Luongo added that he believes the pieces are in Florida to make a serious run in the not too distant future, although the roster still needs to be rounded out with solid complimentary players. Getting them will be doable given that the Panthers have just $45.4 million committed to 13 players for the 2014-15 campaign, per Cap Geek. They still have restricted free agents to sign, but there’s no question that they have plenty of cap flexibility going forward.

Of course, having money to burn is only useful if there are guys on the market willing to play for you. Getting Luongo might help in that regard too.

“It’s hard to recruit anybody if they don’t think you’re doing the right thing,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said. “I think the commitment of making that deal and the commitment that Vinny Viola’s going to make … will really influence a lot of decisions as far as players wanting to come here, seeing that we’re really committed to winning.”

What happens with the Canucks remains to be seen. From their perspective, trading Luongo was part of a larger effort to start getting younger, which suggests that they’re in the early stages of a rebuilding process that Florida has long since embraced. Either way though, that chapter of Luongo’s career is over.


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  1. madmax80 - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    HA HA HA HA!!!

    I loved the LUUOOONNNGGOOO chant from all the B’s fans at the game on Sunday.

  2. newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Luongo leaves a sinking ship in Vancouver.

    As we saw with last night, it will be a long road for all Canucks fans over the next few years.

    Glad to see Lou get out of the “tabloid like” situation he has been in over the past few years.

    Florida will soon become a contender in the East just as long as they stay healthy. The young core is slowly getting better….now they have a solid piece in net (finally).

  3. penguins87and71 - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    I like personally think Florida is going to playoff contender really soon. They have tons of young players, and now they have a franchise goalie.

    • jcmeyer10 - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      And an owner “willing to spend to the cap”. I mean, what team wouldn’t want to be cap flexible? Better chance of competing. Put together a couple good drafts (see: Pitt Pengs) and you can be a contender again.

    • withseidelinn - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Only issue is his age. Panthers have a lot of young talent. Need to draft some more D, but they’re off to a good start.

  4. blomfeld - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Even though I don’t like Luongo, I nonetheless believe that he’s going to do well … being back in Florida is ‘exactly’ what he was praying for these last two years and now his prayers have finally been answered … the sheer ‘joy and euphoria’ emanating from his most recent photographs is unmistakable …

  5. runhigh24 - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    To be fair they have time for at least 2 full rebuilds before his contract expires.

  6. rushledger - Mar 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    I’d say they won the Luongo deal. They didn’t overpay for him so that helps start things off in the right direction.

    • pfhockey - Mar 14, 2014 at 11:06 PM

      I believe they also pay for only 85% of his contract which is about 4.5 mil. A bargain to me.

  7. slaugin - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    I think trading for Luongo in a lost season is a sign that the Panthers are looking to be relevant in the near future

  8. slaugin - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    I can’t think of another team that is as bad as Florida make a move to improve now and not dump their Vets to get draft picks/prospects. Good sign for the Sunshine state going forward

  9. pone27 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Being a Hawks fan, and seeing what Tallon can do when given cap space, he will make a playoff team out of the Panthers in the near future.

    All the pieces are set from a youth aspect. He got the starting goaltender.

    Now, he has the green light to spend on big F/A’s. I don’t expect guys like Moulson or Vanek to go to Florida, but someone like Cammalleri, Statsny, Michalek or Vrbata dance their way to Florida on offense.

  10. madmax80 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Please tell me which of these teams you guys see the Panthers passing in the next few years:



    They need to pass 2 of them just to get into 8th place.

    • hosewater2 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      Agree. My money is on this team going nowhere.

      • madmax80 - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        Its one thing to say the team is getting better (no where to go but up), but the teams ahead of them are trying to improve, too.

        If you want to talk about real progress (i.e. making the playoffs), you need to talk about the teams ahead of them in the conference and say why you think they can overtake these teams.

        They had a division title fall into their lap 2 years ago in the pathetic old Southeast Division, where the division winner was guarenteed 3rd (even though their point total was 10th or 11th best in the East). However, that’s never going to happen under these divisions.

        I love hockey and I’m stuck living in their market (moved from BOS). I wish they would get better, so I could go to some good games. I just don’t see it happening anytime soon.

      • madmax80 - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM


        Are also in the mix and you cannot argue that FLA is clearly better than any of these teams.

        In my opinion, CBS is the next ‘lower’ Eastern Conf team to make a push towards the top.

  11. hosewater2 - Mar 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Yes, people still hate the Canucks. When they had Luongo, he was an untradeable washed up overrated overpaid fake superstar. Now that they traded him, Florida has “won the deal” and makes Florida a “possible contender.”

    Do you hear/read yourselves?

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      No one with any intelligence thought Luongo was terrible; his numbers back that up.

  12. jeffr85392 - Mar 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I would enjoy seeing Bobby Lou fade into the sunset tonight against my Coyotes. Starting tomorrow morning, I will gladly wish him well.

  13. hockeyflow33 - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    They should have no problem attracting free agents with a commitment to win. They can sign guys for less because the state has no state income tax and there is year round nice weather.

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