Roberto Luongo is consistently one of the top goaltenders in the NHL each season, having won 30+ games seven consecutive times and twice recording 40+ wins on a season. He also won the William M. Jennings trophy in 2011, being the goaltender having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it. He also backstopped the Vancouver Canucks to back to back Presidents Trophy’s, having been the team with the best regular season record by the end of the season. Oh, he also has a shiny gold medal from the Olympics as well, in which he helped win with team Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Going into the 2011-2012 season, Luongo was facing heavy scrutiny after losing game seven of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins. He had been called a choke artist, and it’s said that he can’t play big games because of it, but Luongo was looking to shut the critics up, whether he’d say so or not.
Despite dealing with some injuries through the season and only playing in 55 games, Luongo managed to register a 31-14-8 record along with a 2.41 goals against average and .919 save %. However in the Playoffs Luongo would again have trouble, losing two games along with a 3.59GAA and .891s%, numbers that do not match his career averages. He would eventually be asked to sit in favor of the younger Cory Schneider, but the Canucks would eventually lose their playoff matchup in 5 games, again to the eventual Stanley Cup winner the Los Angeles Kings.
Luongo could have been higher on our list, however with his shaky play in the playoffs, along with uncertainty of where he’ll play this season he fell a bit lower. With backup Schneider being signed to a contract extension on a 3 year $12m deal, it’s expected Luongo will be traded at some point. There has been talks of the Toronto Maple Leafs being interested, as well as the Chicago Blackhawks. But many believe the Florida Panthers could be the top candidate for Luongo, who has a no trade clause and had stated at one point that Florida was the only team he would waive it for, at the time. However, the Panthers have a solid young goaltender in their system which could lead to a similar situation in Florida, as well as the asking price being too high for them.
Should Luongo be traded to any of the listed teams you have to imagine they would instantly become better, especially in Toronto who have two young goaltenders with little experience. Only time will tell where Luongo will end up, but it’s safe to say the load on his back could end up feeling a lot lighter once it finally happens. I’m not knocking the Canucks or their fans, but touching on the subject that every year Luongo has such high expectations to meet that he may not experience on another team, even Toronto fans can be realistic and say they don’t expect to win a cup if they acquire Luongo. The less stress could greatly help Luongo and make his job more enjoyable, we all know how productive someone can be when they enjoy their job, imagine the turn around Luongo would have.
Some saves by Roberto Luongo over his career.