SPORTS

Roberto Luongo traded by Canucks to Panthers

03/04/2014 04:54 EST | Updated 05/04/2014 05:59 EDT
Roberto Luongo has been traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Florida Panthers a day ahead of the trade deadline.

The 34-year-old Luongo seemed to confirm the deal himself soon after reports emerged, tweeting a picture of a palm tree. He played for the Panthers from 2000 to 2006, and his wife is from Florida.

Vancouver will receive 24-year-old netminder Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias as part of the deal.

The Canucks also send to Florida minor league left wing Steven Anthony, a former seventh round pick.

Vancouver will pay a portion of Luongo's salary, according to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada. The Montreal native was then signed to a 12-year extension worth $64 million US in 2009.

The move comes two days after Luongo was passed over for the starting assignment in the Heritage Classic game at BC Place in favour of backup Eddie Lack.

Luongo did not play for the Canucks since returning from Sochi, where he won a second consecutive gold medal with the Canadian team. His last game in Vancouver stands as a 3-1 loss to Toronto on Feb. 8.

The deal ends a rollercoaster tenure for Luongo in Vancouver. He recorded 38 of the 65 shutouts in his career in a Vancouver Canucks uniform, and was a Vezina Trophy candidate in 2006-07, his first season with the club.

Vancouver would ascend to the best record in the regular season two consecutive years beginning in 2010-11, with Luongo leading the Canucks that season to the lowest goals-against total in the league.

The Canucks made it to the seventh game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with Luongo in net before bowing out to Boston. Ironically, Luongo will now form a tandem in Florida with Tim Thomas, who was the Bruins netminder for that championship.

Luongo has been involved in trade rumours for nearly two years, especially after then coach Alain Vigneault elected to start Cory Schneider in a critical 2012 playoff contest.

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis tried to move Luongo, but the player's lengthy contract proved one of the obstacles. Last summer, it was Schneider who was dealt, to New Jersey.

Luongo's camp, thinking the goalie's days in Vancouver were done after the 2013 season, was reportedly blindsided by the Schneider move. Luongo reportedly looked into the possibility of voiding his contract, but reported to training camp.

Gillis once thought so highly of Luongo that he made him captain in 2008. The unconventional move lasted for two years before Luongo stepped aside from the role.

Matthias has scored 48 goals and 49 assists in 312 NHL games, all spent with Florida. The 26-year-old was originally a second round draft pick of Detroit in 2006.

The six-foot-six Markstrom was a second round pick of Florida's in 2008, but hasn't been able to fully seize the No. 1 job for the Panthers.

Markstrom is 11-25-5 in parts of four seasons in Florida, with a 3.21 goals-against average and .874 save percentage.

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