Roberto Luongo

Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers


Didn’t I tell you this was possible? OK, so all the maybes I used…

…doesn’t make it quite as impressive, but this deal makes sense for a number of reasons.

— Florida was always Luongo’s first choice as a destination, for family reasons. It was even reported in June of 2012 that the Panthers were “getting ready” for his return. Now, with new, aggressive ownership in Florida, along with the Canucks apparently agreeing to take on some of Luongo’s salary, the time was right.

— Even after Cory Schneider was traded to New Jersey at the draft, it was pretty obvious that Luongo still wanted out of Vancouver. What happened this weekend at the Heritage Classic didn’t help his happiness.

— I’m not sure Mike Gillis drew it up quite like this, but in Markstrom and Lack, the Canucks now have two young, cheap goalies. There’s no guarantee either will pan out in the long term, but then again, there’s no telling how Luongo, soon to be 35, will perform either. Remember that Schneider also netted the Canucks Bo Horvat with the ninth overall pick in the draft, and he could turn out to be a key player in the near future.

— Shawn Matthias is a player the Canucks have been interested in for some time now.

Per TEAM 1040, here’s audio of Luongo talking about the trade.

“It’s nice. It’s home,” he said of being traded to Florida. “The new ownership there is committed to winning. There’s some good, young players there. It’s a good opportunity for me.”

Related: New Panthers prez is ‘incredibly optimistic’ about franchise’s future

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?