As the Florida Panthers look to turn over a new leaf following the retirement of Roberto Luongo, the team did just that on Sunday afternoon, trading goaltender James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes.

It all started on Sunday afternoon when TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported that the veteran backstop had been dealt to Carolina while additional details then quickly emerged. Moments later, more would be added on, sending a sixth-round pick the other way to the Panthers while goaltender Scott Darling then found himself included, heading out to Florida as a result of the trade.

Adding onto that, as Bob McKenzie went on to mention, this also meant that the Panthers would be responsible for assuming the buyout on goaltender Scott Darling as part of the transaction.

Chris O’Meara/The Associated Press

This was then followed up by a club announcement to confirm the transaction where it was then established that the sixth-round pick would be for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. As discussed prior to, Scott Darling was then placed on waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout.

Speaking of which, as reported by TSN Hockey Insider Frank Seravalli, losing Darling means that the Panthers will end up with a net cap savings of $2.17 million and $1.07 million next season as part of the deal. That in mind, he would also note that the Panthers will also be hit with $1.18 million cap charges in 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 as cap rises likely significantly.

Speaking of Scott Darling’s contract buyout which, like the trade, at this time remains pending, he has two years left in his contract while the buyout will last four years. According to CapFriendly, during that time, the buyout will include the following cap hits:

2019-20 $1.233M
2020-21 $2.333M
2021-22 $1.183M
2022-23 $1.183M

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Like all other deals, it remains tentative for the time being until it is approved by commissioner Gary Bettman as the free agent frenzy is now well underway.

As mentioned by The Associated Press, Reimer helps to address the Hurricanes’ immediate need at goalie with co-starters Petr Mrzaek and Curtis McElhinney eligible to become unrestricted free agents. At this time, McElhinney is said to be speaking with Montreal and two other teams.

When taking a look at this trade from the outside perspective of win or lose, for the Panthers, it was more of a victory as the deal amounted to the team freeing up space under the salary cap in dealing veteran Reimer and buying out Darling’s contract.

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While keeping this in mind, as noted by Luke DeCock of the News & Observer, James Reimer’s time with the Hurricanea could be short despite the agreement to take on his contract. Furthermore, he mentioned that it was done to get out from under the looming contract buyout of Scott Darling, meanwhile, adding on that other potential moves are currently in the works.

Not only does this amount to the Carolina Hurricanes keeping busy on the trade front, but for general manager Dale Tallon in Sunrise, it could be a fairly similar story as well. That being said, with Luongo hanging up the skates and James Reimer shipped out to Raleigh, Florida has become the front-runner favourite to land Columbus starter Sergei Bobrovsky in NHL free agency.

The same was reported later on by TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, indicating on Sunday evening that chances are at this point that Bobrovsky will take the reigns from here on out for the Panthers.

David Zalubowski/The Associated Press

In taking a look now at Reimer’s statistics for the 2018-2019 regular season, the 31-year-old native of Arborg, Manitoba appeared in 36 games with the Panthers, recording 13 wins and 12 losses, while also adding five ties to his resume.

Reimer also owned a 3.09 Goals Against Average as well as a .900 save percentage through a total ice time that consisted of 1, 805 minutes played. As for the entirety of his NHL career as a whole, the Canadian netminder has appeared in a total of 338 games, recording 144 wins and 120 losses, while also adding 21 shutouts and 39 ties to his resume.

Reimer was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft where he would stick until February of 2016 when he was dealt to the San Jose Sharks for goaltender Alex Stalock, forward Ben Smith and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. Reimer, who’s contract is carrying a cap hit of $3,400,000, made his NHL debut in the middle of the 2010-2011 regular season.

Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images North America

As for Scott Darling now, in taking a look at his numbers for the 2018-2019 regular season, the 30-year-old native of Newport News, Virginia appeared in eight games played with the Hurricanes, recording two wins and four losses, while also adding two ties to his resume.

Darling also owned a 3.34 Goals Against Average as well as a .884 save percentage through a total ice time that consisted of 486 minutes played. As for the entirety of his NHL career as a whole, the American backstop has appeared in a total of 126 games, recording 54 wins and 42 losses, while also adding 4 shutouts and 18 ties to his resume.

Darling was originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the sixth round (153rd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, however, he wouldn’t end up sticking around and would later join the Ottawa Senators. From there, he was moved once again, joining the Chicago Blackhawks to kickstart his career. Darling has since landed with the Hurricanes via trade that sent a third-round draft pick the other way in exchange. Darling, who’s contract is carrying a cap hit of $4,150,000, made his NHL debut at the beginning of the 2014-2015 regular season.

Steve Mitchell / USA Today

In spite of the age difference that stands between both Reimer and Darling, both have experienced accomplishments, but in different forms in the NHL. For Reimer, he has posted a save percentage of better than .920 four times, meanwhile, he also represented Team Canada in the 2011 and 2014 IIHF World Championships.

As for Scott Darling, the 30-year-old netminder registered a 15-29-9 record in two seasons with the Hurricanes, that in addition to a 3.20 goals-against average and a .887 save percentage. With Darling now on the move to Sunrise, he will look forward to a new beginning as a backup to Sergei Bobrovsky, meanwhile, James Reimer will look to lead Carolina to the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight season.

The NHL’s free agent signing period officially kicks off on Monday morning with extensive coverage being had on Sportsnet with Hockey Central Signing Season at 11amET. As the free agent stove continues to heat up with all the news and rumours, the show will also be available for viewing via online stream on Sportsnet Now.

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