Roberto Luongo became the Vancouver Canucks all-time wins leader on Saturday, following the 4-3 victory against the San Jose Sharks. Luongo surpassed Canucks legend and Ring of Honour inductee Kirk McLean with 212 wins in 364 games played. As well as becoming the all-time Canucks wins leader, Luongo also joined Nikolai Khabibulin as tied for the second most wins for current active goaltenders in the NHL with 327 (312 wins behind leader Martin Brodeur with 639).
Luongo went on record to say about the achievement:
“It’s a great honour. We have a great team here since I’ve been here. Looking forward to winning many more”
Roberto Luongo has had his share of ups and downs in his career but there is no doubt he remains a franchise goaltender and an important part of the Canucks organisation. His biggest accomplishment came during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, when he made 34 saves in the gold medal game for Canada against the United States, leading the Canadians to a famous overtime victory. Despite some recent meltdowns (otherwise known as Chicago and Boston) as well as some terrible October flops (pun intended), Luongo usually finds his rhythm around mid-November and has his best months December to April.
The 6’3 Montreal native started his NHL career in 99/00 with 7 wins in 24 games for the New York Islanders followed by 5 seasons in Florida with the Panthers before finally being traded to Vancouver in late 2006, along with Lukas Krajicek and a 6th round pick for Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld and Bryan Allen. With Luongo between the pipes, the Canucks have reached the playoffs 4 out of the last 5 years.
Despite constant calls from fans and the media for in-form backup Cory Schneider to replace him, Luongo remained calm and it seems the battle for the number one goaltending job early in the season only helped Luongo improve his game and become more consistent after returning from his upper body injury at the end of November. Luongo currently has an impressive GAA of 2.42 and a .917 save percentage in 33 games played, registering 2 shut-outs in the process.
Luongo’s game continues to improve despite his age and there seems no doubt that the Canucks will continue to run with him for the near future. His 12-year contract expires in 2021/22 and he is expected to remain in net, barring any injuries or circumstances, until he is around the age Tim Thomas is now (37), when the Canucks will have the option to re-assess his no-trade clause.