Luongo, the subject of trade rumors for nearly two years, and
winger Steven Anthony were traded to Florida for goalie Jacob
Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias, the teams said in separate
"I thought my contract was immovable," Luongo said on TSN radio from
Phoenix where the Canucks are scheduled to play the Coyotes later on
Tuesday. "I would never have thought I would be traded before the
A three-time Vezina Trophy finalist as the NHL's top goalie and
finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player,
Luongo helped Vancouver reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, where
they lost to Boston in a decisive seventh game.
But the 34-year-old goalie was unable to maintain his form and has
been the subject of trade rumors since losing his starting job to
Cory Schneider during the 2012 playoffs.
The Canucks made previous attempts to trade Luongo but his massive
12-year contract worth $64 million that was signed in 2009 proved a
major sticking point in making a deal.
Schneider was eventually traded to New Jersey in mid-2013 and it was
expected Luongo would reclaim the starting job.
[to top of second column]
He filled the role for most of the current season but Eddie Lack has
started in each of Vancouver's three games since last month's
Luongo, who spent five seasons with Florida earlier in his career,
was in net for the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2010
Vancouver Olympics and was the backup goalie on the national team
that triumphed at last month's Sochi Games.
Luongo, who is under contract through the 2021-22 campaign, spent
nearly eight NHL seasons with the Canucks and leaves as the team's
all-time leader in shutouts, wins and most wins in a single season.
"Roberto is one of the game's elite goaltenders and we are happy to
welcome him back to South Florida," Panthers General Manager Dale
Tallon said in a statement.
"With this acquisition, we have solidified our goaltending depth
with a top-tiered netminder for the next several seasons."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Larry Fine in New York;
editing by Ken Ferris)
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