First, the club shipped center Marcel Goc and his expiring contract to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a third-round pick in 2015 and a fifth-round pick in 2014. Goc will be missed, but the Panthers have a stockpile of promising young pivots in the organization. This move gives the savvy German veteran a good shot at the Stanley Cup.
With Luongo back in the fold, the Cats finished off the day by dealing Tim Thomas to the Dallas Stars for goaltender Dan Ellis. Ellis is signed through next season and is expected to take over immediately as Luongo's backup. The 33-year-old posted a 5-6 record with a 3.04 GAA and one shutout for Dallas this season.
Scott Clemmensen, who already cleared waivers, is expected to be sent down to AHL San Antonio and combine with Michael Houser to help that club in its push for the playoffs.
While the trade for Luongo was a bit of a surprise, these were the kind of moves the Panthers were expected to make. They have shed a few veterans from their crowded NHL roster, opening up some space to take a long look at some youngsters over the last twenty games, and sorted out the goaltending position as a whole for next year, and the starting position for the foreseeable future. The bigger moves that help push this club back towards the postseason will come in the offseason.
Update: Luongo press conference video here