By Mike Harrington
TAMPA, Fla. -- So who gave NHL GMs the memo that the trade deadline was today? Hey guys, it's tomorrow at 3 p.m. Sure couldn't tell by what's gone down the last couple of hours or so.
First off, nothing from the Sabres as of 5 p.m. Matt Moulson is still with them. So is Jaroslav Halak and a host of others who could be on the block. A big one just went down as Vancouver sent Roberto Luongo back to Florida for center Shawn Matthias and goalie Jacob Markstrom.
The Panthers, who are in Boston tonight, have said they're going to allow GM Dale Tallon to spend money under new owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu. Looks like they are. In addition to Luongo, they also signed ex-Sabre Brad Boyes to a two-year contract extension worth $2.625 million per season.
When is their next game? Yep. Friday night at BB&T Center in Sunrise against the Sabres. Luongo might actually get some people in seats, something I've never seen at a game there.
Luongo, who is under contract through the 2021-22 season, previously spent five years in Florida. And he brilliantly commented on the trade from his ultra-popular Twitter feed @Strombone1
🌴— Strombone (@strombone1) March 4, 2014
Halak's most likely target team appeared to disappear today when the Minnesota Wild got Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton for a fourth-round pick, ending rumors that Martin Brodeur was going to Minnesota. So wither Halak? Washington still seems like a good bet.
The most active team so far today is Anaheim. The Ducks are first overall with 91 points but they didn't stand pat. They sent Dustin Penner to Washington for a fourth-round pick and goalie Viktor Fasth to Edmonton for two picks (a fifth in '14 and a third in '15), then got defenseman Stephane Robidas from Dallas for a conditional fourth-round pick.
The Islanders sent defenseman Andrew MacDonald for center Matt Mangene, a third-round pick this year and a second-rounder next year. The Islanders are still working on a Thomas Vanek trade with Anaheim and Los Angeles interested and growing speculation that Boston is trying to get a player who routinely riddled them when he played with the Sabres.