Florida Panthers: Could Roberto Luongo be heading towards his final appearance soon?

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Goaltender Roberto Luongo
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Goaltender Roberto Luongo /

A pertinent question this upcoming season is how much Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers has left in the gas tank before he hangs it up for good.

The Florida Panthers playoff hopes will likely hinge on health between the pipes. Luongo’s sheer longevity over his 17 year plus career has been simply remarkable:

  • 966 games played (4th most all time)
  • 453 wins (5th most all time; Curtis Joseph sits at 454 wins)
  • 73 shutouts (11th most all time)

NHL fans who have been critical of Luongo’s body of work point to his lack of playoff (team) success. While it is true that Lu has yet to hoist Lord Stanley over his head, his individual numbers indicate his postseason history should be viewed in a more positive light:

  • Regular season all time numbers: 2.50 GAA/.919 SV% in 966 GP
  • Playoff all time numbers: 2.49 GAA/.918 SV% in 70 GP

It can be argued that his postseason statistics bolster his candidacy for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Also consider the Panthers failed to reach the postseason even one time from 2001-2006. Luongo shouldn’t be blamed for the lack of team success during those years (Vezina consideration among NHL All-Star Team recognition).

Furthermore, how many goalies all time can boast these type of numbers with two separate clubs:

From a league wide historical scope, Luongo has played at least 300 more regular season games than the likes of: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Ron Hextall, Mikka Kiprusoff, Bill Ranford, Mike Richter and Jose Theodore. Truly mind-boggling.

However at 38-years-old, one can easily make a case Luongo’s days as an NHL goaltender are numbered.

Related Story: Florida Panthers: Roberto Luongo no longer a starting goaltender due to hip injury

Evgeni Nabokov, John Vanbiesbrouck and Mike Vernon all retired prior to age 40. Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph lasted until 41 years of age (albeit both a shell of former selves during their last couple seasons upon retiring). Those five modern-era goalies are comparable to Luongo in some form or fashion.

With current Panthers stars such as: Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck alongside the living legend Jaromir Jagr over the past couple seasons, Luongo at times became the “forgotten man” as ludicrous as that sounds.

NHL starting goalies typically drop off production wise at 37-38 years old, or simply retire due to prolonged injuries sustained over a long career between the pipes. Lets all enjoy the greatness of Roberto Luongo while we can.