— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) July 1, 2012
One of the first signings of the day concerned the Panthers, a team that has long been rumoured as a likely – and preferred – destination for Roberto Luongo. Moreover it concerned a goaltender, Scott Clemmensen, which means that the Panters now have three capable NHL goalies under contract in Clemmensen, Theodore and Markstrom. Are the Canucks out of luck, and down a potential Luongo dance partner as a result of this trade?
Click past the jump for more.
At least according to ESPN’s Craig Custance, a former Atlanta Thrashers beat-writers who knows more about the Southeast Division than just about anyone else, Clemmensen’s deal won’t necessarily have an impact on the Panthers interest in Vancouver’s franchise netminder:
Told that Clemmensen deal does not rule out a possible Roberto Luongo trade to Florida.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) July 1, 2012
Assuming Custance is spot on, and he’s an extremely reliable source of information, then presumably Florida would be shipping a goaltender out – either in a Luongo trade, or in a separate trade with another club.
Clemmensen just signed a two-year deal though, so unless Dale Tallon pulls a Paul Holmgren and trades Clemmensen – you’d have to think he’s safe. Jose Theodore meanwhile, has a full no-trade clause, and presumably would be unlikely to accept a trade out of Florida – considering the state’s excellent weather, and extraordinarily low income tax rate.
While it makes sense that Florida might want Jakub Markstrom – and his shaky knees – to spend another full season in San Antonio, it still looks like the the Panthers have two, NHL-caliber (If not Luongo-caliber) goaltenders under contract now – so where would Luongo fit?
For what it’s worth, Jesse Spector of the Sporting News sees a fit between Theodore and the Canucks:
If the Panthers were to acquire Luongo, they could easily trade Theodore, who, with one year left on his contract, would be an attractive backup to several teams. That might include Vancouver, where handing the No. 1 job to Cory Schneider is a gamble, no matter how well he has played as Luongo’s backup.
The rub, it seems to me, is Theodore’s no-trade clause. Theodore has played in hockey obsessed markets before – he narrowly won a Hart Trophy as a member of the Habs – so perhaps the "pressure" isn’t a particularly big factor. Also, as Gillis and the Panthers have been involved in talks regarding a potential Luongo trade for at least several weeks, there’s also the possibility that Tallon knows Theodore would waive his no-trade clause…
For example, Gillis’ stance on how close the team was to a Luongo-trade changed from "I’m the problem" at the draft to, "I have no idea, it may feel like you’re close to doing something and it falls apart. It may feel like nothing will happen and suddenly you’ll get a phone call and it changes in 10 seconds. We’re going to take our time. Whatever timeframe that is, most likely it won’t be dictated by me," on Friday afternoon (Quotes via Botchford). Sounds like something was close at some point over the past week and might that something have involved Theodore?
Update: Another factor, pointed out to me by Dan Lortimer, is that Vigneault coached Jose Theodore for three years with the Montreal Canadiens…