Luongo wants to be traded to the Panthers, but willing to explore alternatives

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Roberto Luongo hopes to be traded to the Florida Panthers where he can be close to his family. However, he’s not refusing to consider other destinations.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel caught up with Vancouver’s soon-to-be-former goalie today at the Panthers’ practice facility in Coral Springs.

“[Florida] makes sense for myself, for my career and my family,” said Luongo. “That being said. There’s obvious other options as well. This is a preferred location for obvious reasons but I’m not shutting the door on other possibilities if it comes up.”

Luongo met his wife, with whom he has two children, while he was a member of the Panthers and still calls Florida home in the offseason.

Armed with a no-trade clause, the 33-year-old would have to accept any deal the Canucks craft.

Besides Florida, Toronto and Chicago are two other teams that may be interested in acquiring his services (and lengthy contract).

Likewise, Toronto and Chicago are two destinations Luongo may be willing to go. (Unlike, say, Columbus.)

That Luongo is willing to explore alternatives to his first choice, Florida, may underscore his desire to leave Vancouver and avoid a situation where he’s still technically a member of the Canucks when training camp starts.

In an odd twist, current Panthers goalie Jose Theodore took to the ice right after Luongo finished his skate.

Both Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, the team’s other goalie under contract, have said it’s useless to speculate about what could happen.

Theodore has, however, said he hopes to retire a Panther. The 35-year-old has a no-trade clause of his own, so theoretically he could refuse a move to Vancouver (or anywhere else) should he be asked.

Related: Theodore thinks Canucks aren’t rushing to trade Luongo amid labor uncertainty