March 17, 2012: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore (right) celebrates their 3-2 in a shootout as Buffalo Sabres right wing Drew Stafford (21) skates away at the BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Let's Not Occupy Luongo. Florida Panthers Need Scoring.


As if this situation hasn’t been discussed enough, I figured why not continue to beat a dead horse.  Or goaltender.  The truth of the matter is that while there has been all sorts of speculation about whether or not Roberto Luongo ends up in Florida, no one knows much for sure at this point.  Obviously the drama that surrounds the netminder, who now appears to be campaigning through the media, or while at a poker tournament, hasn’t helped squash these rumors. By saying for the most part, “it’s been a nice six years, but it’s time to move on”, all but numbers his days in Vancouver.  The story is getting old.  About as old as the coffee can of nails and screws in my mom’s basement.  And it’s starting to feel like someone is using them to scrape my back each time another rumor begins.

While there are two sides to this situation…..those that welcome the trade, and those like me who don’t,  leads me to ask why make it in the first place?  The statistical evidence of Luongo and the combination of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen indicates that our duo had very similar numbers to Roberto.  Last season Bobby Lu had a .919 save percentage and a 2.41 GAA during the regular season as he appeared in 55 games.  Jose Theodore had a .917 save percentage with a 2.46 GAA in 53 games, and Clemmensen’s numbers were .913 and 2.57 respectively.  Very close in comparison.  And all for about $3 million dollars less mind you.  Speaking of which while Roberto’s cap hit average is $5.3 million dollars, the actual dollars paid out are $6.7 million for the next six seasons!  There’s also no state income tax in Florida as opposed to the high taxes in Canada.  I’ll wait till you clean up the breakfast that you just tossed on the floor after you read that.  Ok….done?  Let’s get back to it.

All of this chatter leads me to ask, is the organization saying that they don’t have confidence in our goaltending?  I would think that after Jose Theodore had one of the finest seasons of his career, and Scott Clemmensen held the fort down while Theo was injured, keeping the Panthers not only in the playoff race, but in the divisional lead, shows that these two are more than capable of handling the duties.   I have always been a supporter of Jose Theodore, and as close as I was able to get to him last season after games, and at certain team events, can say he’s as professional as they come, and deserves another chance at leading this team to the playoffs.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame management for wanting to improve, and to look for ways to make us stronger.  However in my opinion, which most likely is as valuable as that can of rusty screws and nails in Daphne’s basement, we’re focused on the wrong area.

For years this team has longed for a scorer.  A player who can not only hit the back of the net when the puck leaves his stick, but can do it anywhere from 35 to 40 plus times a season.  We know that these players are hard to find, but we have waited far too long to fill this need, and now after last season’s progress is the perfect time to finally do so.  Roberto Luongo had the benefit of his team scoring 46 more goals than the Panthers in the regular season. Florida had three 20 goal scorers, Vancouver had one 30 goal man and two 20 plus goal scorers, and five players who had more than 10.  They also had a player dish out 67 assists.  Our goaltending hasn’t had that type of support since Bill Clinton was president.  For a team to finish in first place after having scored only 203 goals appears to be quite an accomplishment.  It also means that your defence and goaltending had to be pretty solid.  It was.

My point behind all this is that instead of potentially giving up a prospect and some “dead wood” for a goaltender on the downside of his career who has too many question marks in his game, we need to get a goal scorer.  Someone that can make plays every shift.  Get a player that will pull me to the edge of my seat.  I’d rather win 4-3 than lose 2-1.  This town and team needs a superstar player, or someone that’s at least close to it offensively.  And if that player isn’t available via free agency, then trade for him.  If we are honestly willing to pay $6.7 million a year for a rebound machine, then why can’t we pay the same for a guy that can skate like the wind and score at will. (whoever he is).

Trading for Luongo is a bad idea from a contract standpoint, and from the standpoint that he’s not going to make us significantly better…..especially if we aren’t scoring.  And I would think that’s where the rubber meets the road.  Or the skates hit the ice.  If you’re going to pay that kind of money for a player, he better be someone that can take your team to the next level.  In three seasons he’ll be untradeable because of that albatross of a contract, and we would be stuck.   Or should I say handcuffed.  If the salary cap shrinks with the new CBA agreement, we’ll have even less cap space to work with because of it, and we’ll never get that goal scorer.   Also, what do we do with Jacob Markstrom?  Our future goalie who’s been groomed for the starting role hopefully by 2013-2014, will play second fiddle to an expensive, and aging veteran.  Our goaltending is fine, and with Markstrom in the wings, we could be in great shape for the next decade.  But all the saves in the world won’t matter much if we can’t score.

And that’s what we need.  Scoring.

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

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Tags: Florida Panthers Jacob Markstrom Jose Theodore Roberto Luongo Scott Clemmensen Trade Rumors Vancouver Canucks

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