The Roberto Luongo era in Vancouver came to an Tuesday, in a blockbuster deal the day before the NHL’s trade deadline.
Oh, and they were also scheduled to play the Phoenix Coyotes a few hours later in an important Western Conference match-up – one that could impact both teams’ playoff chances.
The Canucks dealt Luongo back to the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Shawn Matthias and goalie Jacob Markstrom. Without Luongo, who had been in Vancouver for eight seasons, the Canucks were then shut out 1-0 by the Coyotes in an otherwise flat, uninspired effort with their post-season hopes fading with every negative result.
The Canucks may not be done dealing, either, as the club continues to “re-tool” after two consecutive first-round playoff exits and the very real possibility it might not qualify for the post-season in 2013-14. It’s believed center Ryan Kesler could also be on the move, although exactly where remains in question as the deadline approaches.
“I don’t know if we’re done yet,” Canucks GM Mike Gillis said in a conference call on Tuesday. “If we do something else, it will be in the same vain of trying to get younger and trying to get more depth and more balance.”