Since they became an NHL franchise in 1993, the Florida Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks have had a history of being trading partners. Some of the biggest trades for each franchise happened when they decided to trade with one another. Here are four of the most notable trades that happened between the team from Sunrise and the team from Canada’s west coast.
The First Luongo Trade
The Panthers and the Canucks pulled off a blockbuster trade before the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. In the deal, Florida acquired forward Todd Bertuzzi, goaltender Alex Auld and defenceman Bryan Allen. In return, they sent goaltender Roberto Luongo, defenceman Lucas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick which became forward Sergei Shirokov.
This trade worked out better for Vancouver rather than Florida. Bertuzzi played just seven games with the Panthers due to a herniated disc. He was traded to the Red Wings on Feb. 27, 2007, in exchange for prospect Shawn Matthias (more on him later) and conditional picks. It was fair to say Bertuzzi’s best days were behind him since leaving Vancouver.
Related: 7 Things About Roberto Luongo
Allen played 284 games in the Sunshine State and scored 14 goals and 67 points. The Panthers traded him to the Hurricanes at the 2011 deadline. As for Auld, he only played 27 games in Florida with a 3.34 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage.
Luongo went on to become arguably the best goalie in franchise history for the Canucks as he played in 448 games and posted a .919 SV% and 2.36 GAA. He was nominated for the Vezina twice and the Hart once and won the Jennings in 2011 with Cory Schneider. He led the Canucks to six playoff appearances including the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
Shirokov played eight games with the Canucks before returning to Russia and Kracijek played two seasons in Vancouver before being traded to the Lightning in 2008. He now plays for HC Oceláři Třinec of the Czech Extraliga.
The Second Luongo Trade
After a lot of controversies in Vancouver, Luongo was traded back to the Panthers. It happened on March 4, 2014. He and forward Steven Anthony were traded in exchange for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and Matthias.
Luongo played a second stint in Florida before retiring in June 2019. The best season in his second stint was 2016-16, where he picked up 35 wins and led the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time since 2012, losing in six games to the New York Islanders. Luongo’s final years were plagued by injuries. He had a 2.57 GAA and a .918 SV% in his second stint in Florida. Luongo became the third goaltender to play 1,000 games when he started in a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on April 5, 2018.
On March 7, 2020, Luongo became the first Panther to have his jersey retired. For Anthony, he never played in the NHL and spent his career in the minors and at the University of Windsor before retiring in 2017.
Related: Florida Panthers Jersey History
Matthias played one more season with the Canucks scoring 18 goals and 27 points. He then signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, got traded to the Colorado Avalanche and played two seasons with the Winnipeg Jets and while not officially retired, hasn’t been in the league since 2017-18.
Markstrom played 2014-15 in Utica and was the backup to Ryan Miller for two seasons before sharing the crease with Anders Nilsson for about a year and a half. Now Markstrom is the Canucks starter and has been a brick wall for them.
Jovanovski for Bure
On Jan. 17, 1999, the Canucks and Panthers decided to swap two major players. The Panthers traded for Pavel Bure, also known as “The Russian Rocket”. Bure had been wanting out of Vancouver and he didn’t play for the Canucks all season. He was traded along with defencemen Brad Ference and Bret Hedican and a 1999 or 2000 third-round pick, which became a third-round pick in 2000, and was used to select Robert Fried. In return, the Panthers sent defenceman Ed Jovanovski, goaltender Kevin Weekes, forward Mike Brown and Dave Gagner as well as a 1999 or 2000 first-round pick, which turned out to be Nathan Smith who was selected 23rd overall in 2000.
Bure played only 11 games during the remainder of the season but he then went on to have a 58-goal, 94 point and 59-goal, 92-point seasons. He played 56 games in the 2001-02 season before being traded on March 18, 2002, to the New York Rangers. Bure’s time was short with the Panthers but they were blessed to have one of the most explosive players in NHL history play for them.
Jovanovski went on to become a pivotal defenceman for the Canucks. He spent seven seasons for the Canucks was a three-time All-Star. He scored 57 goals and 234 points with the Canucks and is considered to be one of the best defencemen ever to play for the Canucks.
Trade at the 2010 Draft
The Panthers and the Canucks also made a deal at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. (from ‘Canucks trade away first-round pick in deal for Ballard,’ Ottawa Citizen, 06/25/2010) Florida acquired the Canucks’ first-round selection, which was the No. 25 pick and was used to select Quinton Howden. Also acquired were promising prospect Michael Grabner and winger Steve Bernier. The Canucks acquired defenceman Keith Ballard and prospect Victor Oreskovich.
Grabner did not make the Panthers out of training camp and was put on waivers on Oct. 3, 2010 and was claimed by the New York Islanders. He had a 34-goal, 52-point season and was nominated for the Calder Trophy, which must have hurt for the Panthers as they traded for him and let him go for nothing.
Grabner played five years for the Islanders before being traded to the Maple Leafs in 2015. He then signed a two-year deal with the Rangers. In February 2018, he was traded across the Hudson River to the New Jersey Devils. He decided not to re-sign with the Devils that summer and instead inked a three-year deal with the Arizona Coyotes, where he has been ever since.
Bernier spent one season with the Panthers but only played 68 games due to shoulder and eye injuries. He had 5 goals and 15 points. He then signed for the Devils and played four seasons splitting time between the big club and their AHL’s Albany Devils. Bernier signed with the Islanders in 2015 and has spent time with the big club and the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he has been ever since.
As for the Canucks side, Ballard spent three seasons on the Canucks’ blue line before being bought out in 2013. He spent two seasons with the Minnesota Wild before ending his career due to post-concussion syndrome and to pursue studies in sport science at the University of Minnesota.
Oreskovich played 16 games with the Canucks in the 2010-11 regular season and had three assists, He went pointless in 19 games during the Canucks 2011 playoff run. The next year he played for the Canucks affiliate Chicago Wolves in the AHL and played one more season with the Canucks. He now works in banking.
There have been other trades between the Panthers and Canucks but these are the most notable. It is likely that these two franchises will be trading with each other again in the future.
Live in Vancouver but write about the Florida Panthers for The Hockey Writers. Also write about the Canucks on The Canuck Way and am the host of The Avid Discussers Podcast.