Florida Panthers vs Vancouver Canucks

Reports: Panthers, Blackhawks lead latest Roberto Luongo trade rumors


The Vancouver Canucks didn’t trade Roberto Luongo during the draft weekend, but reports indicate that there was at least some discussion. From two separate reports, it appears that the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers were among the most interested parties.

(Admit it, you have “Chelsea Dagger” in your head now, too.)

Let’s start with the bizarre spectacle that would be Luongo suiting up for a city that tormented him as much as any has* in the last few years. Aaron Portzline provided this fascinating (if murky) Tweet about Luongo being traded to Chicago:

“Don’t know where this stands now, but over #NHLdraft weekend I heard G Roberto Luongo to Chicago, if the #Blackhawks could make $$$ work.”

CapGeek’s chart reveals that Chicago would have $8.23 million in cap space if the ceiling is $70.3 million next season. They also have two goalies under contract – Corey Crawford ($2.67 million cap hit) and Ray Emery ($1.15 million) – who could theoretically be part of such a move. Luongo’s $5.33 million cap hit could be pretty manageable since the Blackhawks don’t have significant players to re-sign, but obviously they might want to target a free agent or two and they’d certainly need to make sure such a lengthy commitment would be worth it.

Panthers reunion?

The other major bit of rumbling revolves around a potential reunion between the Florida Panthers and Luongo. As you may recall, Luongo toiled in Florida for years before being traded to Vancouver. He still has family out there, so it makes sense that Harvey Fialkov and others are reporting that there’s some interest from both sides.

Panthers GM Tallon has kicked the tires with Canucks about Luongo but reports of deal are, “pure speculation.”

A deal would make sense – at least in the short-term. Jose Theodore only has a year left on his deal while Scott Clemmensen is a free agent, so there would be an immediate opening for Luongo. (Theodore isn’t that far removed from backup duty, either.)

On the other hand, Jacob Markstrom waits in the wings as perhaps the best goalie not currently in the NHL. If the Panthers nabbed Luongo, it’s not crazy to imagine Markstrom becoming “the next” Cory Schneider down the line.


Still, both situations make enough sense that they could happen. So far, though, it seems like they only “almost” happened.

* Aside from his own fans in Vancouver, perhaps.

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (NHL.com)

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.