After years of wanting to return from Vancouver to his home in Florida, Roberto Luongo was blindsided Tuesday when he was traded from the free-falling Canucks back to the Panthers.
"There's always rumors floating around but I've been hearing them for a couple of years. You stop listening to them," Luongo said. "It happened quick and caught me off guard. To be honest, I'm still in a little bit of disbelief. It'll be nice to get some normalcy back.
"A lot of people think I want to come here and ride into the sunset. I'm here to win, to bring this team back to the playoffs."
By not acquiring Jaroslav Halak from Buffalo on Tuesday and trading for Ilya Bryzgalov instead, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher saved cap space and one of the second-round picks he ironically used to acquire Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from Buffalo the next day.
One of Fletcher's closest friends is rookie Sabres GM Tim Murray. The two worked together in Florida and Anaheim.
Asked if it was easy making a trade with a friend, Fletcher said: "No, he was tough. But fortunately I have some good background information on him that he doesn't want revealed."