As the hockey world, Digital Journal included, is waiting with great anticipation to hear the gold-medal winning goalie will be shipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Panthers, his former club, may have the inside edge on Bobby Lou's future. The Fourth Period
says they do.
"The Florida Panthers are serious about bringing back Roberto Luongo to South Florida, one league source told TFP on Sunday," the magazine wrote in a brief story on June 24. "Speaking on the basis of anonymity, the source indicated that Luongo is now only willing to waive his no-movement clause to Florida, where he spends his off-seasons."
Something holding up the deal, the magazine says, is Vancouver GM Mike Gillis wants a package that includes the Panthers 2010 Entry Draft 19th overall pick, Nick Bjugstad. He's a skilled center
from Minnesota and at 6' 4" has size to go with tremendous skating ability. Bjugstad was drafted out of high-school but has excelled in two years at college since.
Florida Panthers or Toronto Maple Leafs or...
Obviously, without a source being named, it's hard to gauge the accuracy of the report. The magazine is becoming a respected hockey publication, it's been publishing regularly since 2009, and may be loathe to risk a reputation on shoddy research.
Luongo played for the Panthers for five seasons, after being traded there by the team that drafted him, the New York Islanders - he played only 24 games with New York - and was popular during a time when the club was not strong. They did not once make the playoffs during his stay but Luongo had a winning record of 35-30-9 in his last season there, the 2005-06 season. The other selling point is that his wife is from Miami and the Luongo family returns there for the summer months.
Given Leafs GM Brian Burke said
at the junior draft in Pittsburgh that Gillis was asking too much, and Columbus, the Penguins and Tampa Bay have gone in another direction to solve their goaltending needs, The Fourth Period may be on to something.
Of course there's always the Chicago Blackhawks....