NEW YORK – NHL trade deadline day was widely expected to be busy. The day before might prove to be even wilder.
Several big-name hockey players were on the move Tuesday, 24 hours before time for dealing runs out, including star goalie Roberto Luongo, who was ushered out of Vancouver and sent back to Florida eight years after he was sent packing.
The Panthers, on their way to missing the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 seasons, dealt goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias to the Canucks for Luongo and forward Steven Anthony.
“We’re getting a great goaltender, a proven commodity,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “Jacob has got great upside but we needed to make a statement, and Luongo’s numbers are terrific. He’s already been in this community and is a very popular figure in the South Florida area.
“I just like what he brings to the table, giving us stability and his experience and a chance for us to win. You have to pay the price to get guys like this.”
Markstrom had been considered the Panthers’ goalie of the future for several years.
“Jacob’s a great young goaltender, with a lot of potential, but that’s what you have to pay sometimes,” Tallon said.
Luongo was the highest-profile netminder on the move Tuesday, but he was hardly alone as several goalies changed addresses in a flurry of trades. In fact, his acquisition in Florida could prompt the Panthers to trade veteran Tim Thomas before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. EST deadline.
On Tuesday, the Anaheim Ducks sent goalie Viktor Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2014 fifth-round draft pick and a 2015 third-round selection. Edmonton then traded veteran goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild for a fourth-round draft pick this year.
The Wild were in the market for another netminder, with high-profile names such as Martin Brodeur and Jaroslav Halak mentioned as possible acquisitions.
General manager Chuck Fletcher said the team must assume that neither Niklas Backstrom nor Josh Harding will be healthy enough to mind the net again this season. Rookie goalie Darcy Kuemper has played well, but the Wild needed depth heading into a stretch of 20 games in 37 days.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to get where we want to get to, but clearly having two quality goaltenders was very important,” Fletcher said.
Halak was traded from St. Louis to Buffalo last week in the deal that brought goalie Ryan Miller to the Blues, and could still be flipped somewhere else before Wednesday’s deadline.
Brodeur made what could be his final start with New Jersey at home Tuesday night against Detroit. The future Hall of Famer has a full no-trade clause that he can invoke.
The New York Islanders, well on their way toward missing the playoffs, started their sell-off by dealing coveted defenseman Andrew MacDonald to the Metropolitan Division-rival Philadelphia Flyers for a pair of draft picks and minor league center Matt Mangene.
“Andrew MacDonald is a solid two-way defenseman who brings us depth and experience,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Devils defeat Red Wings
Newark New Jersey — Martin Brodeur made 20 saves and Stephen Gionta scored the tiebreaking goal with under 37 seconds left to lift New Jersey,
Bruins 4, Panthers 1
In Boston, David Krejci scored three goals for the Bruins in a win over Florida.
Blue Jackets 4, Stars 2
In Columbus, Artem Anisimov scored twice, including a late insurance goal, and the Blue Jackets held off a third-period rally.
Penguins 3, Predators 1
In Nashville, Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the game 7:29 into the third period, and Pittsburgh snapped a three-game skid.
Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 2
In Chicago, Tyson Barrie scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 7:10 left, and Colorado topped the Blackhawks.
Blues 4, Lightning 2
In St. Louis, Alexander Steen scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and goalie Ryan Miller won his first home start for the Blues since being acquired in a trade with Buffalo last week.
Miller made his second career appearance in St. Louis and faced just 17 shots in the Blues victory.
Islanders 3, Jets 2 (OT)
In Winnipeg, Michael Grabner scored on a breakaway 3:53 into overtime for New York.
Oilers 3, Senators 2
In Edmonton, Ales Hemsky scored two goals and the Oilers snapped a three-game skid.
Coyotes 1, Canucks 0
In Glendale, Arizona, Antoine Vermette scored late in the first period and Mike Smith stopped 23 shots.
Hurricanes 3, Sharks 2 (OT)
In San Jose, Jay Harrison scored with 41.2 seconds remaining in overtime and the Hurricanes won for the first time since the Olympic break.