Sports Outside the Beltway

How bad was the Roberto Luongo deal for the Florida Panthers?

Last summer the Florida Panthers traded their star goaltender, Roberto Luongo. Here are the details.

The deal announced late Friday evening sent Luongo, defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick in Saturday’s NHL entry draft to the Canucks for right winger Todd Bertuzzi, goaltender Alex Auld and defenseman Bryan Allen.

Luongo said he had agreed to come off his demand for a one-year contract if the Panthers would agree to three conditions: the team would state publicly that he would not be traded; that his goaltender coach, Francois Allaire, would be hired; and that Jamie McLennan would be brought back as his backup.

“Once I had relayed that message (through his agent, Gilles Lupien) I felt pretty good,” Luongo said. “Then a few hours passed by and I didn’t hear anything, and I had a bad feeling in my stomach. Then I found out the deal had been made.”

What transpired in that time remains a subject of debate. General Manager Mike Keenan claimed the demands “weren’t discussed with me,” while coach Jacques Martin said they were discussed but that efforts to reconnect with Lupien were unsuccessful.

Lupien said he couldn’t understand why. “Roberto was calling me every 15 minutes. So why can Roberto reach me and the team can’t? You ask yourself, ‘What the heck are they trying to do?’ ”

Finally, Lupien said, Luongo called and said Keenan had informed him he’d been traded.

“He was crying,” Lupien said. “Roberto wanted to stay there. He has got a new house (in Coral Springs) and the furniture was coming in this week. I was 100 percent sure he wouldn’t be traded. But I think this is a trade (Keenan) has wanted to do for three or four months.”

Reaction to the deal was mixed at Saturday’s NHL entry draft. Typical was Jim Rutherford, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes, who said, “On one hand, I love watching him play; he’s one of the three best goaltenders in the league. But from a competitive standpoint, he’s not easy to play against.

“But Bertuzzi is a pretty good player, too.”

Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster added: “I like to think we became a better hockey team last night without doing a damn thing, because Roberto is out of the Southeast Division. Not having to face him eight times (a year) is a great thing.”That’s a pretty damning appraisel of the trade made by Florida. Luongo is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. He was the star of the team.

I thought so little of the deal from the beginning. The Florida Panthers got an award at my main blog. So how is the Luongo deal playing out so far?

The 2005-06 Panthers went 37-34-11
This year’s Panthers are 9-15-5
That’s a sizable drop off. From over . 500 play to under .400. Is it all the fault of the Luongo deal?

Lets compare Luongo’s goaltending versus the Panthers’ so far for the 2006-07 season.

Alex Auld and Ed Balfour 89 goals allowed, 3.05 GAA, .898 Save Pct.
Roberto Luongo 62 goals, 2.44 GAA, .911

The other Vancouver goaltender has only played in three games.

The Panthers are 9-15-5, the Canucks are 13-14-1

At present, only two teams have given up more goals than the Panthers. Seven teams have given up fewer goals than the Canucks.

Todd Bertuzzi is on injured reserve. He required back surgery a month into this season.

The perpertrator of this deal, GM Mike Keenan, has since resigned from his position.

The Panthers traded one of the best goaltenders for damaged goods and one of the worst goalies in hockey. Plus the team can’t seem to score any goals. I think we can sum up the Luongo deal in one word.


Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.