Various sources report the Vancouver Canucks have traded Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers. Details to follow.

Roberto Luongo returns to the Panthers.

Roberto Luongo returns to the Panthers.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Who says no big trades occur in the day prior to deadline day. This is a biggie, folks. The Canucks spent a year trying to moving Luongo without success, but suddenly they were able to ship him back to the Panthers, one of the few teams to which he would accept a trade.

Things obviously soured for Luongo in Vancouver over the past couple of years, though credit him for handling it well and not making waves.  This move has me wondering if Ryan Kesler could indeed be shopped by the deadline. The asking price for him is steep, much more so than what they’re reportedly getting for Luongo, so that one might have to wait.

This trade certainly addressed the Panthers’ starting goalie issues, though it casts some doubt on Tim Thomas’ future with the club. The Panthers were interested in re-signing him for next season but with Luongo returning there’s probably no need for Thomas beyond this season. 

It’s reported goalie Jacob Markstrom is heading to Vancouver as part of the return. It’s also believed center Shawn Matthias could be part of the return. No word yet if the Canucks are picking up any part of Luongo’s salary. I’ll have more updates as they become available. 

UPDATE: The Canucks receive Markstrom and Matthias, plus they retain 15 percent of Luongo’s salary for the remaining term. The Panthers also get minor league winger Steve Anthony. The Panthers’ take on an average cap hit of $4.533 million per season.