Luongo surprised by trade to Vancouver

Updated: June 24, 2006, 3:09 PM ET
Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Roberto Luongo thought he had worked out a long-term contract with the Florida Panthers early Friday afternoon.

A few hours later, the 27-year-old goaltender got a call informing him that he had been dealt to Vancouver in a five-player trade that sent forward Todd Bertuzzi back to Florida.

"I'm really sad because I didn't think this was going to happen, Luongo said Saturday. "We made great strides yesterday. I thought we were going to get something long term. I was surprised this whole deal went down."

Defenseman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld are also headed to Florida in the deal, which also sent defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick in Saturday's draft back to the Canucks.

Luongo believed he had reached a four-year deal with Florida that hinged on three conditions: The team make a public statement that it would not trade him; goaltending coach Francois Allaire, whose contract runs out in Anaheim this summer, would be hired; and veteran Jamie McLennan would return as Luongo's backup.

"They did not want to meet my three expectations, which I thought were not that big a deal," Luongo said. "I'm really looking forward to the opportunity of making a run at the Stanley Cup, something I never had a chance to do in my prior seasons in Florida,"

Luongo added that he wanted to stay in his wife's home town in Florida, where they just moved into a new home, but was looking forward to playing in Vancouver.

He said it was too soon, however, to think about signing long term with the Canucks.

After earning $3.2 million last season as part of an arbitration award, he rejected several long term offers from the Panthers -- the last for $24 million over four years -- and could become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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