I was having a nice quiet Tuesday afternoon and then it happened. Roberto Luongo, traded.
#canucks traded Roberto Luongo to Panthers.
— Renaud Lavoie (@LavoieRenaud) March 4, 2014
The soap opera with more twists and turns than Days of Our Lives mixed with the WWE is over. Finally. And what a wild ride it has been.
Luongo should be remembered as the greatest goaltender in Canucks history and one of the best players the city has ever had. Under Luongo’s tenure, the Canucks franchise has never been more successful. It’s sad to see him go, but this was absolutely necessary.
The dark cloud of controversy and speculation has been lifted from the Canucks. In order to move on and rebuild (as I outlined yesterday), the Canucks need to get younger. And that’s what they have done with this trade.
People are mad at Mike Gillis, I get that, but this trade was a positive move for the Canucks. The Canucks trade Luongo, who turns 35 in a month from now, for two young players that can play right away. They also get cap relief.
|To Vancouver:||To Florida:|
|Jacob Markstrom||Roberto Luongo|
|Shawn Matthias||Steven Anthony|
Shawn Matthias is a big, young (26) prototypical third line centre with two years left on his contract that pays him $1.75 million. Markstrom, who was a top goaltending prospect not long ago, is 24 years old and makes $1.2 million.
Roberto Luongo’s cap hit is $5.3 million (although the Canucks will still pay $800,000 of that). Steven Anthony is a prospect in the ECHL, who isn’t likely to play in the NHL.
Matthias will likely to be a serviceable third line player, while the jury is out on Markstrom. Markstrom could become a complete dud or he could become a star. He has struggled the past couple of seasons in Florida, but has sparkling numbers in the AHL.
Most of all, the Canucks acquire cap space and flexibility. Vancouver could still go out and acquire a UFA goalie in the offseason if they desire or they could run with two young goalies.
This is likely not going to be the last move to be made by GM Mike Gillis (Ryan Kesler is likely next) and that might be hard to take for Canucks fans. But just like when Trevor Linden was traded in 1998 for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe and a draft choice, this is a positive move for the Vancouver Canucks.