Sometimes, the best trades are the ones you don’t make, even if you did want to make them in the first place.

The Bruins, once upon a time, offered to trade Joe Thornton to the Florida Panthers for Roberto Luongo of all people, according to then Panthers general manager Mike Keenan.

The longtime NHL coach who is currently does some TV work appeared on Sportsnet’s NHL playoff preview on Sunday night. He was asked by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek about what went into the process of trading Luongo when the veteran goalie was in Florida, and Keenan was quite candid with his answer.

“The genesis of the whole contract negotiation was we offered Roberto 25 million, he wanted 35 million,” Keenan explained. “Our owner came up to 30 million … They said, ‘No, we’re not gonna take it.'”

Keenan was then instructed to trade Luongo, and the Bruins were one of the most interested teams in acquiring the goaltender.

“It was a real tight window because the [Panthers] owner was really upset about the discussion about the negotiaton,” said Keenan. “But yes, Joe Thornton was offered by the Boston Bruins, and I took it to the owner and the owner said ‘No, we don’t wanna take that contract on either.”

Instead, Thornton was shipped to San Jose for a package of players late in 2005, while Luongo was sent to Vancouver for Todd Bertuzzi and a couple of other players following the 2005-06 season.

If Keenan had it his way, though, Luongo would have been shipped up to Boston for Thornton. Marek explained on his podcast, Marek vs. Wyshinski, that Keenan told him off the air that the Luongo-Thornton deal would have certainly gone through as both Keenan and Bruins GM Mike O’Connell were all for the deal before it was shot down by Florida ownership.

Luongo was a lighting rod for controversy during in the Stanley Cup Final last season when the Bruins torched him for 15 goals on just 66 shots in three games at TD Garden en route to the B’s winning the Stanley Cup.

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Can you imagine a world in which Roberto Luongo, not Tim Thomas, would be the Bruins goalie?

Bruins Once Offered to Trade Joe Thornton for Roberto Luongo, According to Mike Keenan

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“That’s not fair. He should make that throw when guys are fast. I feel a little faster this year. I was safe, by the way.”
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Nice catch. Even better moves.