In a move that is absolutely stunning, the Vancouver Canucks have sent Roberto Luongo and Steven Anthony off to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias. The move was clearly spurred by deteriorating relations between Luongo and the Cancuks organization, but it is still utterly clear is that the Panthers have come out the winners, and by a long shot.
The crown jewel of this trade for the Panthers is clearly Luongo, and he certainly is worth a ton. During the current season, the 34 year old has a 19-16-6 record with a 2.38 GAA and .917 percent save percentage, which actually stacks up well against career averages of 2.51 GAA and .919 percent save percentage.
The four time All-Star is the complete package in goal, as he has the mix of size, quickness and shot blocking ability that any world class goaltender possesses, and Luongo is certainly one of the best in the world. Furthermore, in recent years, he has made a habit out of stealing games from opposing teams that dominate the shot and possession totals. With eight seasons left on his current deal at a $5.33 million cap hit, the Panthers are obviously banking on the 34 year old to post totals close to his career averages, and after watching past top goaltenders play into their 40s, it is not hard to believe that Luongo can do the same.
That the Panthers only had to give up a guy that hasn’t been able to cut it at the NHL level in Markstrom and a bottom six forward in Matthias is highway robbery at its finest. Sure, relations between Luongo and the Canucks had deteriorated in recent seasons, but the guy is still one of the best goaltenders in the world and is surely worth more than two bit part players.
Moving forward, this trade is not going to vault the Panthers from the depths of the Eastern Conference to being a top side by itself, but it goes a long way towards making this happen. After all, Florida has picked up a stable of young players from picking in the top three of the NHL Draft for three of the last four seasons, so the organization already had great potential heading into the future. With Luongo now on their side, it can be assured that they will now be stabilized from the back end and will become a playoff contender in future seasons.