SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Business has definitely picked up at the BB&T Center Tuesday afternoon as the Panthers have been burning up the phone lines making trades and re-signing players.
The biggest news, which seemed to come out of nowhere, was the Panthers trading young goalie Jacob Markstrom to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for former Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. The move comes just a few days after Luongo was benched during the Heritage Classic.
Markstrom has long been viewed as the goalie of the future for the Panthers, but has never been able to put it all together and stick in the National Hockey League. He has played better this year in the minor leagues, but couldn’t unseat Tim Thomas.
The Panthers are reportedly also adding Shawn Matthias to the deal to acquire Luongo.
Speaking of Thomas, the acquisition of Luongo comes just two years after he faced off against Thomas in the Stanley Cup Finals. Thomas came out ahead in that battle. but may lose this time in the race to start for Florida.
Luongo is 34 and has stopped a slightly higher percentage of shots this year than Thomas. Luongo also has a better overall record this year than Thomas.
Where things get interesting is Luongo’s contract. He signed a 12-year, $64 million contract that has cap hits of $5.33 million each year through the 2020-2021 season. It’s being reported, but not confirmed, that the Canucks will take on some of the salary from Luongo’s guaranteed contract.
Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet.ca said the Canucks will pick up 15 percent of the cost.
At nearly the same time that word of the Luongo trade broke, it was reported the Panthers have re-signed leading scorer Brad Boyes to a two-year contract worth $5.25 million. Boyes’ deal reportedly also has a limited no-trade clause attached.