Florida Panthers: A determined, yet regressing Roberto Luongo heading into 2017-18 season

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Goaltender Roberto Luongo
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Goaltender Roberto Luongo /

Following an unsuccessful campaign for the Florida Panthers , #1 goaltender Roberto Luongo is looking to lead the Cats to prominence in the 2017-18 season.

The previous year was incredibly difficult for the aging Luongo as the 38-year-old struggled to remain healthy throughout the course of the season. In consequence, injuries unfortunately caused Lu to be unavailable for 42 games (missing over half the season). Luongo experienced an abundance of setbacks which in turn had a negative effect on the outcome of the Panthers season. In result, FLA proved to be incapable of reaching the .500 mark without the typical phenomenal goaltending and leadership of their quality, yet humorous net minder.

In the 40 games Luongo participated in, he produced to an underwhelming line of 17-15-6, 2.68GAA, and .915SV%. Clearly this past year was a regression phase in Roberto’s illustrious career and could be potentially signaling that his duration of maintaining #1 goalie status may likely be approaching to an abrupt closure. Quite frankly, all of Lu’s numbers drastically declined and his health is beginning to become a major concern, especially with his sizeable contract being accounted for.

Bobby Lu will be earning an unbelievably expensive AAV of $4,533,333 until reaching the age of 43. It’s virtually impossible for the Panthers to be able to unload his gigantically egregious contract due to his rising age, continuous injury problems and massively overpaying deal. The Cats are essentially stuck with Luongo for the foreseeable future and will ultimately hope Lu is somewhat productive for a couple more years, before spiraling into a downwards decline which may result in premature retirement.

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The Panthers won’t be able to depend on Lu anymore as he’s simply unreliable at this point of his hall of fame worthy career. Luongo is certainly the greatest goalie to play for the Florida Panthers and is a favorite amongst the fans with his playful manner, care-free attitude and constant barrage hilarious jokes being made especially regarding his own play. Lu often enjoys documenting his struggles at times with posting a hysterical meme and criticizing his poor performance to the delight of social media.

The Panthers will heavily rely on improving goalie James Reimer who experienced an impressive first season with the Cats recently. Reimer is a proven starter and should see an increased amount of playing time with injuries continuing to endlessly plague Roberto. The Cats are in a fortunate position to have another quality net minder in case one is unable to play due to a nagging injury. If the Panthers can receive at least 45 games(hopefully a majority of tremendous starts) from Luongo, then the organization will be pleasantly satisfied.

With expectations slimmer skating into the 2018 season, Roberto Luongo will hopefully rediscover and maintain his dominant play in order to contribute positively to a re-energized group of hungry cats. A rejuvenated Lu should help to propel this young, promising Panthers club to inevitable success down the road, as he’ll form a formidable duo in net with counterpart James Reimer.