The 5 Biggest Trades: Vancouver Canucks & Florida Panthers

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These two franchises, the Vancouver Canucks and the Florida Panthers share an interconnected history. This is the result of several roster-altering trades since the Panthers’ inception back in 1993.

The most recent trade that took place between these two teams occurred in October of 2021. The Canucks sent former fifth overall pick Olli Juolevi to the Panthers in exchange for Noah Juulsen and Juho Lammikko. It’s been less than a season since the trade was executed and all three players are still in their 20’s – so it’s hard to determine how impactful this will end up being.

Today, on the other hand, I will be counting the top five biggest trades between these two teams. I will be ranking these trades based on the immediate/long-term impact and the skill level of the players involved.

Let’s get into it!

5. June 25, 2010: Vancouver Acquires D Keith Ballard and RW Victor Oreskovich from Florida in Exchange for RW Steve Bernier, RW Michael Grabner, and a 2010 First Round Pick #25 (LW Quinton Howden)

As the Canucks were eyeing a run at the Stanley Cup, then GM, Mike Gillis was on the hunt for assets at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Florida, on the other hand, was coming off of a tough season where they finished third last in the entire league. This meant that they were looking to sell assets and acquire some young talent and picks. Although this was one of the biggest deals of the draft, it worked out very poorly for both teams in the end.

Keith Ballard, the biggest piece heading to Vancouver, was not the reliable, offensive addition to the blue line that he was expected to be. He finished with a grand total of 16 points in three years (148 games) with Vancouver. With a steep cap hit of $3.3 million per season, Ballard was bought out in 2013. Victor Oreskovich was an afterthought in this deal, however, he would suit up for 35 games (including 19 playoff games) with the Canucks in their 2010-11 campaign due to injuries. Oreskovic played one NHL game the following season for Vancouver before exiting the league.

Michael Grabner is generally considered as having the most successful career out of all the players in this trade. Unfortunately for the Panthers, he was waived and picked up by the New York Islanders before playing a single game for Florida. Adding to the pain for fans, he played almost 300 games and scored 90 goals as an Islander. Steve Bernier would play for Florida for only one season where he put up 15 points. The Panthers selected Quinton Howden with the 25th selection. He stayed with the organization until 2016. With just shy of a hundred career NHL games, Howden began playing hockey overseas.

4. May 25, 2016: Vancouver Acquires D Erik Gudbranson, and a Fifth Round Pick #140 (D Cole Candella) from Florida in Exchange for RW Jared McCann, a 2016 Second Round Pick #33 (LW Rasmus Asplund), and a 2016 Fourth Round Pick #94 (C Jonathen Ang)

There’s no nice way to put it, the Canucks got absolutely fleeced in this deal.

Jared McCann would go on to establish himself as a quality middle-six winger throughout his two seasons with the Panthers. Erik Gudbranson, on the other hand, would become one of the inspirations behind the #FireBenning movement. Gudbranson was criticized heavily by fans during his time with the Canucks. He never quite found his footing in blue-and-green and for that reason, he wasn’t able to make up for the value that was lost in McCann and the two draft picks.

3. March 4, 2014: Vancouver Acquires G Jacob Markstrom and C Shawn Matthias from Florida in Exchange for G Roberto Luongo and LW Steven Anthony

In hindsight, this late-season trade worked out fairly well for both teams.

The Canucks added what seemed like a prospect goaltender who wasn’t quite panning out in Jacob Markstrom. They took their time developing him. By the time his seven seasons in Vancouver were over, Markstrom was becoming one of the most highly-regarded netminders in the league. Shawn Matthias served as a depth forward for the Canucks for one season following the trade. He scored a career-high 18 goals in that season.

For Roberto Luongo, this was an opportunity to return to the place that helped establish him as a superstar. He would finish his career with the Panthers and he even became the first Panthers player to have his jersey retired by the team. This trade was a win for Florida as it allowed the fans to soak in the final years of one of the club’s first legitimate superstar players.

2. January 17, 1999: Vancouver Acquires D Ed Jovanovski, C Dave Gagner, RW Mike Brown, G Kevin Weeks, and a 2000 First Round Pick #23 (C Nathan Smith) from Florida in Exchange for RW Pavel Bure, D Bret Hedican, D Brad Ference, and a 2000 Third Round Pick #77 (RW Robert Fried)

When offensive superstar Pavel Bure was dealt during early 1999, no one was surprised. Bure and the Canucks management had internal conflicts that resulted in him deciding to sit on the sidelines until he was eventually moved.

He cemented himself once again as one of the best goalscorers in history throughout his time in Florida. The Russian Rocket netted 152 goals in his 223 games with the club – good enough to earn him back-to-back Rocket Richard Trophies. Bure’s time didn’t last long in Florida, but he still lives on as arguably the greatest goal scorer ever seen by the franchise. Bret Hedican played just over 200 games for the Panthers and Brad Ferrence played just under. Their third-round pick never played at the NHL level.

Due to a retirement, and the lack of development from their prospects, the only new Canuck that made a serious impact was Ed J.ovanovski. ‘Jovo’ was a former 1994 first-overall pick who had spent his first four professional seasons with Florida. During this time he wasn’t able to summit 30 points. As a Canuck, this would change. Playing on the blue-line behind the West Coast Express, Jovanovski established himself as an elite offensive defenceman. He surpassed 45 points in three consecutive seasons in Vancouver and was a cornerstone of their roster for seven seasons.

1. June 23, 2006: Vancouver Acquires G Roberto Luongo, D Lukas Krajicek, and a 2006 Sixth Round Pick #163 (RW Sergei Shirokov) from Florida in Exchange for RW Todd Bertuzzi, D Bryan Allen, and G Alex Auld

Now, this trade was absolutely massive for the Vancouver Canucks. In Luongo, they added the franchise’s greatest goalie in the team’s half a century. With over 500 total (playoff & regular season) games played, Luongo was a superstar. He was goaltender during the team’s only two President’s Trophies and was even nominated for a few Vezina Trophies during his time. Bobby Luo was captain for a brief stint and may one day see his name in the rafters at Rogers Arena.

As for the other Canucks acquisitions, Lukas Krajicek was a serviceable bottom pairing defenceman for 117 games spent in Vancouver. Sergei Shirokov would score one goal in his eight total Canuck games in the NHL.

The Panthers definitely received the short end of the stick on this deal. Their big piece, Todd Bertuzzi would only suit up for seven games in Florida. His all-star days were behind him, he spent the majority of his career in Detroit as a middle-six forward. Their new goaltender, Alex Auld, spent 27 games in the Panthers’ crease before following Bertuzzi’s example and departing. The Panthers did get some use out of Bryan Allen, he was a reliable defensive presence for five seasons.

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Hockey Writer from Northern British Columbia.