LUONGO DEALT TO FLORIDA
The Robert Luongo saga is finally over after nearly two years. The Canucks today traded Luongo to the Florida Panthers in exchange for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias. Luongo is 19-16-6 with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 42 games this season with the Canucks. He is under contract through 2021-2022.
This trade was believed to be sparked by Luongo being bypassed to start Sunday’s Outdoor game and proves that the Canucks are truly a mess under GM Mike Gillis.
Gillis traded away Corey Schneider at the 2013 entry draft for just a first round pick that led to the selection of forward Bo Horvat, so pretty much the Canucks in nine months have traded two No. 1 goaltenders for Bo Horvat, Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias. Unbelievable.
MORE TRADE DEADLINE BUZZ
The wheeling and dealing is underway with a number of notable trades today:
— The Flyers made a splash acquiring Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald for a 2014 3rd round pick and a 2015 2nd round pick. MacDonald one of the NHL’s most underrated defensemen that no one knows about, immediately upgrades a shaky Flyers blueline. He leads the NHL in blocked shots. The price is not bad for the Flyers as for instance last year the Penguins gave up two second round picks for Douglas Murray a much inferior player. The addition of MacDonald has led to increasing chatter of Andrej Meszaros being dealt to the Boston Bruins who have strong interest.
— The NHL leading Anaheim Ducks were busy today and believed to be setting the table to nab Tomas Vanek, though, as the day progressed, the talk is the Ducks might be looking to make a splash for a center. The Ducks first traded Dustin Penner to the Washington Capitals for a 4th round pick, then acquired defenseman Stephane Robidas from the Dallas Stars for a conditional 4th round pick and then shipped goaltender Viktor Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015. Many teams are trying to acquire high or mid round picks for the deeper 2015 draft class.
— The Penner acquisition for the Capitals is an interesting one. He’s a proven playoff performer and has had a solid bounce back year with 13 goals and 32 points. If the Ducks didn’t ship him out to clear a spot in the top-6 for another move then there has to be more to this story. As for the Capitals, they add another forward with excellent size. The Capitals have great size upfront that should give them an advantage in the East to play a heavy offensive game and wear down the opposition but they don’t play that style and this is a team that many around the league say is badly coached and lack attention to details.
— Is the goalie market dried up now after the Luongo trade? Many believed Jaroslav Halak or Martin Brodeur were headed to Minnesota but the Wild went the cheaper route and acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers. Washington continues to be seen as a possible landing spot for Halak and maybe Chicago for Brodeur? However, he wants to start. Also don’t forget about Tim Thomas. Florida is now looking to move him.
— The Columbus Blue Jackets are determined to move Marian Gaborik and have made that known to teams. LA is getting mentioned but they’re top target is Matt Moulson and are on a slew of others. Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported a few days ago that the Bruins are believed to have some interest in Gaborik. Some feel maybe Montreal enters the picture looking for a potential game breaker. The Blue Jackets are an interesting team to watch. They are going really hard after Ryan Kesler despite rumblings that Kesler would be on the fence about playing there and Tuomo Ruutu is also believed to be a top target of the Blue Jackets.