Florida traded Luongo to the Canucks on the eve of the 2005 NHL Draft, which was being held in Vancouver.
It was a trade in which the Panthers got fleeced. While the Canucks got a goalie who helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, Florida got a solid defenseman in Bryan Allen and not much else. Todd Bertuzzi, the cornerstone of the deal in then-GM Mike Keenan’s mind, played just seven games with the Panthers because of a back injury. Goalie Alex Auld spent just one season here.
The Panthers traded Bertuzzi to Detroit for prospect Shawn Matthias, who has blossomed into a strong bottom six center for Florida. Coincidentally, Matthias’ name has come up in the Luongo trade rumors as one who may go west if a trade does go down.
The trade cost Keenan his job as he was fired on Labor Day 2006 and replaced as GM by then-coach Jacques Martin.
For now, the Panthers plan to go into the season with the same goaltending that helped win them the Southeast Division championship last year.
While Luongo has been working out on the opposite side of the facility with amateur players, Scott Clemmensen and Jose Theodore have been on the ice with past and current members of the Panthers — including former Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun — preparing for the season.
Although Luongo would be welcomed at the informal workouts, he has avoided the awkwardness that might bring. Luongo has trained earlier in the morning, leaving just as the Panthers are taking the ice.
Theodore and Clemmensen have heard the rumors but they don’t seem to bother them. Theodore, like Luongo, has a no-trade clause in his contract. Theodore has one year left in his deal and it doesn’t seem like he would waive it to be a part of a potential deal for Luongo.
Clemmensen, however, has no such protection. Even though he recently signed a two-year deal with the Panthers, if the Canucks need a goalie in return, Clemmensen could be headed west.
“There are always rumors and you understand that when you sign a pro contract, we don’t have the luxury of job security,” Clemmensen said. “You want stability and don’t want those question marks. But it’s part of the job.”
With the NHL on the verge of its third lockout since 1994, the Panthers made a number of roster moves on Wednesday.
Prized prospect Jonathan Huberdeau was the biggest name to be impacted as he was officially sent back to his junior team in the Quebec league. When the lockout ends, Huberdeau is expected to join the Panthers and spend the season in Florida.
Other players, such as Jacob Markstrom, Alex Petrovic, Colby Robak and Drew Shore, were sent to Florida’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio. The Panthers also placed a handful of players on waivers so they could be assigned to San Antonio upon clearing.