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Luongo returning to Panthers after blockbuster trade

Roberto Luongo thought he was untradeable. The Panthers found a way to bring him back to Florida.

After nearly eight years apart, Luongo was the centerpiece of a four-player trade on Tuesday between Florida and Vancouver.

The Panthers sent goalie Jacob Markstrom — once considered their future in net — and forward Shawn Matthias to the Canucks for Luongo and forward Steven Anthony.

Headlining a busy day of trades, it was a bold move for Florida, which almost certainly will miss the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 seasons.

"We're getting a great goaltender, a proven commodity," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "Jacob has got great upside but we needed to make a statement and Luongo's numbers are terrific. He's already been in this community and is a very popular figure in the South Florida area."

Luongo, 34, played for the Panthers from 2001-06 and holds several team records.

Markstrom's potential had been spoken about for years and he could have been a more affordable option than Luongo, whose $64 million deal doesn't expire until the end of the 2021-22 season.

The question in south Florida becomes what to do with Tim Thomas — the winning goalie when Boston topped Luongo and Vancouver in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Thomas was with the Panthers in Boston for Tuesday's game; the 39-year-old has a no-trade clause.

Florida already has undergone a coaching change this season from Kevin Dineen to Peter Horachek, and the big trade came a day after longtime team president and CEO Michael Yormark announced he was leaving the organization to work for rap mogul Jay Z and his Roc Nation agency.

Nonetheless, the Panthers found a way to make the huge deal, and bring back a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist and two-time Olympic gold medalist with 367 career victories and a 2.51 goals-against average.

"Go figure, right?" Luongo told reporters before leaving Phoenix. "I'm really out of words right now."

Luongo told Canada's TSN Radio that he thought his contract would make him untradeable. He was napping when he got word, preparing to play for Vancouver in late Tuesday's game at Phoenix.

Instead he quickly boarded a flight to South Florida.

The Panthers also sent defenseman Mike Weaver to the Canadiens for a 2015 fifth-round draft pick.

The trade deadline is 3 p.m. today.

Busy Ducks: Anaheim, which leads the league in points with 91, made three deals. The Ducks sent forward Dustin Penner to Washington for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, acquired defenseman Stephane Robidas from the Stars for a conditional fourth-round pick in this year's draft and dealt backup goalie Viktor Fasth to the Oilers for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-rounder in 2015.

Other deals: The Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks got defensemen David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois from the Coyotes for a second-round selection in this year's draft. … The Islanders sent defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who had been mentioned as a Lightning trade target, to the Flyers for two draft picks and minor-league center Matt Mangene. … The Capitals sent forwards Martin Erat and John Mitchell to the Coyotes for forward Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft. … The Wild, which shut down ailing veteran goalie Niklas Backstrom (midsection), got goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton for a fourth-round draft pick. … The Senators sent forward Jeff Costello to Vancouver for defenseman Patrick Mullen, who was assigned to AHL Binghamton.

Game highlights: David Krejci scored three goals for host Boston in a 4-1 win over Florida and former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who had 35 saves in what might have been his last game with the Panthers in the wake of their trade for Luongo. Thomas led Boston to the 2011 Stanley Cup. … Martin Brodeur had 20 saves in what might have been his last game with the Devils and Stephen Gionta scored the winner with 36 seconds left as host New Jersey beat Detroit 4-3. Brodeur, 41, who has spent his entire 21-year career with the Devils and led them to three Stanley Cups, has been the subject of trade rumors. "We'll see what's going to happen," said Brodeur, who has a no-trade clause. … Artem Anisimov scored twice, including a late insurance goal, as the host Blue Jackets held off a third-period Dallas rally for a 4-2 win over the Stars. Columbus scored on the first shot of the game and bolted to a 3-0 first-period lead.

Around the league: Goaltender Anton Khudobin and the Hurricanes agreed to a $4.5 million, two-year contract.

at Blue Jackets 3 0 1 4
Stars 0 0 2 2

First Period1, Columbus, Jenner 11 (Johansen, Horton), 1:14. 2, Columbus, Umberger 17 (Dubinsky, Wisniewski), 11:29. 3, Columbus, Anisimov 17, 15:00 (pp). PenaltiesJenner, Clm (slashing), 4:33; Garbutt, Dal (holding), 13:51; Roussel, Dal (slashing), 16:58.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesHorton, Clm (roughing), 15:30.

Third Period4, Dallas, Goligoski 4 (Whitney, Ja.Benn), 1:39 (pp). 5, Dallas, Daley 5 (Gonchar, Cole), 3:22. 6, Columbus, Anisimov 18 (Prout, Gaborik), 15:53. PenaltiesCalvert, Clm (tripping), :30; Dillon, Dal (roughing), 3:44; Umberger, Clm (diving), 3:44. Shots on GoalDallas 5-12-16—33. Columbus 9-1-10—20. Power-play opportunitiesDallas 1 of 3; Columbus 1 of 2. GoaliesDallas, Ellis 5-6-0 (20 shots-16 saves). Columbus, Bobrovsky 23-15-3 (33-31). A15,661 (18,144). T2:29.

at Devils 1 0 3 4
Red Wings 1 1 1 3

First Period1, New Jersey, Henrique 19, :27. 2, Detroit, Franzen 13, 11:26 (pp). PenaltiesQuincey, Det (delay of game), 7:12; Salvador, NJ (boarding), 10:03.

Second Period3, Detroit, Smith 2 (Abdelkader), 7:03. PenaltiesFayne, NJ (holding), :35; Clowe, NJ (boarding), 15:23; Quincey, Det (high-sticking), 17:56; Lashoff, Det (roughing), 19:39; Glendening, Det (roughing), 20:00; Henrique, NJ (roughing), 20:00.

Third Period4, New Jersey, Zidlicky 10 (Brunner, Elias), :41 (pp). 5, New Jersey, T.Zajac 10 (Jagr, Clowe), 6:30. 6, Detroit, Bertuzzi 8 (Franzen, Nyquist), 9:43 (pp). 7, New Jersey, Gionta 4 (Fayne, Zubrus), 19:23. PenaltiesGelinas, NJ (interference), 9:30. Shots on GoalDetroit 7-12-4—23. New Jersey 8-7-14—29. Power-play opportunitiesDetroit 2 of 4; New Jersey 1 of 3. GoaliesDetroit, Howard 13-14-9 (29 shots-25 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 15-11-4 (23-20). A16,592 (17,625). T2:24.

at Bruins 2 1 1 4
Panthers 0 0 1 1

First Period1, Boston, Krejci 14, 7:29. 2, Boston, Iginla 19 (Caron, Kelly), 11:01. PenaltiesBarch, Fla, major (fighting), 4:26; Lucic, Bos, major (fighting), 4:26; Caron, Bos (tripping), 8:32.

Second Period3, Boston, Krejci 15 (Miller), 19:12. PenaltiesHamilton, Bos (delay of game), 3:47; Barch, Fla, major (fighting), 11:56; Thornton, Bos, major (fighting), 11:56; Shore, Fla (elbowing), 15:01; Caron, Bos (boarding), 19:53.

Third Period4, Florida, B.Campbell 6 (Bergenheim), 12:47. 5, Boston, Krejci 16 (Lucic, Iginla), 19:46 (en). PenaltiesBergenheim, Fla (hooking), 10:06. Shots on GoalFlorida 7-10-7—24. Boston 14-15-10—39. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 0 of 3; Boston 0 of 2. GoaliesFlorida, Thomas 16-20-3 (38 shots-35 saves). Boston, C.Johnson 12-3-1 (24-23). A17,565 (17,565). T2:30.

Luongo returning to Panthers after blockbuster trade 03/04/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 10:25pm]
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