Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan: Johnson
Much has been written and spoken about the Canucks captain since he arrived in Vancouver in 2006. What cannot be denied is his consistency since the 1999 season when he joined the New York Islanders.
Not once since that time, whether it was in the NHL or AHL, has Roberto Luongo’s save percentage gone below .900. In fact, the closet to that magic number was in the 1999-2000 season (New York) when he finished with a .904.
Due to the circumstances of having played on less than a stellar team (Florida Panthers) he did not achieve the 30 game or above wins until his last season in Florida when he was 35W, 30L with a .914 save percentage.
His play since arriving in Vancouver has reflected the quality of his ability which is quantified in his stats.
Luongo has played in 271 games over four seasons for an average of 68 games, .918 save percentage, 2.39 GAA, 39W, 22L and six shut-outs.
There are many, (including myself) that have repeatedly said out loud that yes, he has impressive stats but he has never taken the team beyond round two in the play-offs.
It’s the old adage of you may be a good player in the regular season but it’s the play-offs that really define you.
The pressure and expectation to win in this market has always been at the pinnacle since 1982 when the Canucks gave the fans a titillating taste of Stanley Cup fever and in case they had forgotten, again in 1994.
Since then and especially since 2000, the expectations have mounted again. Now with the arrival of two top four D-men in Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard this is going to intensify even more.
Since we know that Luongo has that consistency, then it should also be expected with a back-end that has been reinforced, he should be looking at topping his average and writing himself career numbers.
The offensive output from last season does not look like it will diminish and in fact from my last article, it looks like it could still be more productive. With the probability of a top Western Conference defensive core how can one not be optimistic that Luongo will rise to the peak?
Chicago proved last season what a great defense and of course depth throughout the forward lines can lead to, which was of course the Stanley Cup.
Now don’t get me wrong here because I am not stating that’s what the Canucks will do, what I am saying is, with the right pieces to the puzzle this team lead by Luongo can finally achieve their expectations.
There is still some tweaking to be done before the season begins on a number of fronts but Luongo must be feeling very positive about the coming season, with the understanding that this will be the best team that he has ever played on in the NHL.
I have a feeling that this will be the season that Lou will prove to all the nay-sayers how wrong they really were!
Another Great Luongo Save: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvyqkYmJWHg
Filed under: Opinion