Player Spotlight: Roberto Luongo

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

This was Roberto Luongo’s first full season back with the Panthers since being traded to the Vancouver Canucks and his performance was certainly worth the hype. Keeping reading for more on the all-star goalie.

Background

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

On March 4, 2014, Roberto Luongo was traded to the Panthers from the Vancouver Canucks, along with Steven Anthony, for Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias. The trade was a long time coming as Luongo had wanted to leave Vancouver and make it down to the Sunshine State for a while. He performed well last season with the Panthers, but he only played in 14 games with the team. This season, Luongo played in 61 games for the Florida Panthers and proved that he’s still got it.

Simple Stats

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

Roberto Luongo started off his first 20 games strong with a super impressive .965 save percentage. Clearly, this was not sustainable but Luongo still ended with a .921 save percentage, which was the 11th best save percentage among starting goalies this season. Not to mention the fact that many of these goalies did not play as many games as Luongo did. Despite sustaining a shoulder incident on March 3, 2015 in the freak accident of a game against the Maple Leafs, Luongo played in the 12th most games of any goaltender this year. He also had a decent 2.35 Goals Against Average (16th among starting goaltenders). He had two shutouts, both against the Buffalo Sabres. That is the 29th best in the league, which isn’t great, but it also does not include the few games in which the other team was shut out but Luongo didn’t finish the game. Overall, Luongo didn’t necessarily have the best year of his career, but it was definitely a good year for him and there is reason to believe that next season will be even better.

Character

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

With the all-star gameplay, Roberto Luongo also brought an all-star presence to the team. There was an enthusiasm among the fans that had not been seen since before Luongo was initially traded to Vancouver. “Luuuuu” chants paraded through the arena every time he made a save, and man were those saves good. The screams were never louder than in the 20 round shootout on December 16, 2014, in which the Panthers emerged victorious with the help of Luongo. He ended the night with a .958 save percentage and an NHL record for the most amount of shootout rounds ever played in one game. Luongo brings a certain character to the team, and it is evident in his gameplay. He is a concentrated and calculating player who plays with a passion that can be seen on and off the ice. He has played through injury and has been almost the heart of the team throughout times of struggle. Not only is he a selling point for the fans, but he is also a selling point for the team and the amount of effort they put into the games every night.

Hey Now, He’s An All-Star

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

Roberto Luongo’s performance this season was exceptional, enough so to earn him a spot in the NHL All Star game on Team Toews alongside Aaron Ekblad. The team won 17-12 with the help of the elite goaltender. Luongo played in the first period and let in 4 goals on 17 shots, which is not great during the regular season, but was the best save percentage of any goalie playing in that game. He also made a pretty incredible save on Jiri Sekac during the skills competition.

In Conclusion

My brother and I with Luongo: 2006 and 2014
My brother and I with Luongo: 2006 and 2014

Luongo is 36 years old and may not have that many years left with the Panthers, but he is going to make the most of the years he has left with the team and according to Dale Tallon, Luongo will get a chance to hold up the Stanley Cup as a champion with the Panthers. I’m not going to say that this has been the best season for Luongo because it has not, but he did play a good portion of the season through injury and he was playing behind a quickly developing team. I believe that as the team develops, Luongo’s gameplay will vastly improve and he may even be Vezina finalist next year. Hey, and even when Luongo does retire, I think he would be a pretty good social media correspondent.

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