When one thinks of Roberto Luongo, what often comes to mind are both his incredibly popular Twitter account, as well as the manner in which he was treated, and subsequently traded from the Vancouver Canucks.
Yet, what is often forgotten, and in fact may be most important when considering Luongo, is the stellar success he has quietly enjoyed throughout his 15 year NHL career. Although he is often discussed and admired for non-hockey reasons, in reality, Luongo is one of the best goaltenders to have ever taken the ice, and in doing so has placed himself into well warranted Hall of Fame consideration.
Think differently? Allow me to attempt to convince you otherwise.
Making the Case
At 36 years of age, Luongo has long entertained the NHL and its fans, while terrorizing his opponents with his stellar, highly athletic style of play.
Best defined by his mobility, Luongo has long paired both his size and quickness into an often seemingly impenetrable butterfly style of goaltending, a style accentuated by his strong positional play and understanding of shooting angles. At 6 foot 3, Luongo has long commanded the net, with his sheer ability to play his position making him unbeatable on given nights. As a result, ‘Bobby Lou’, as he is affectionately known, has long shown his ability to steal games for his team, a trait which saw him land the Captaincy of the Vancouver Canucks at a given time in his career
As a result of his incredible capabilities as a goaltender, Luongo has posted phenomenal individual numbers throughout his career, as well as helped lead his team on deep playoff runs.
For his career, Luongo had posted a 420-344-109 record through 900 games played, alongside a .919% SVP and 2.49 GAA.
Of course these numbers are impressive, but let’s take a closer look…
In terms of games played, Luongo’s 900th contest ranks seventh best all-time in NHL history. Curious as to those with more games played? These legends are Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Terry Sawchuk, Ed Belfour, Curtis Joseph and Glenn Hall, with Hall sitting within reach at 906. Of these six goaltenders who have played more games, four of which currently reside in the Hall of Fame, with Brodeur and Joseph the only exceptions.
Further, lets take a look at Luongo’s win column. With an impressive 420 victories through 900 games, Luongo ranks eighth all-time in wins, trailing the aforementioned Brodeur, Roy, Belfour, Joseph and Sawchuk, as well as Jacques Plante and Tony Esposito. Of these seven men, the only two net-minders yet to be inducted to the Hall of Fame are, you guessed it, Brodeur and Joseph. With all of Sawchuk, Plante and Esposito within 30 wins, Luongo has a strong chance of reaching fifth, or higher, on the all-time list come the end of his career.
Regarding his individual goaltending statistics, Luongo once again remains highly impressive.
With a career SVP of .919%, Luongo ranks sixth all-time, currently behind the likes of Carey Price, Tuuka Rask, Henrik Lundqvist and Dominik Hasek. On the other hand, Luongo’s career GAA of 2.49 through 900 games played ranks just 32nd overall all-time, yet Goals Against Average has long been viewed as heavily influenced by team play.
Bringing Home the Hardware
Throughout his career to date, Luongo has already collected a ton of accolades due to his exemplary play, with more of which quite possibly on the way.
To date, Luongo had captured one William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltenders who allow the least number of goals over a season of play, as well as had been named an NHL all-star on four separate occasions.
Internationally, Luongo has also represented Canada on an incredible eight occasions, varying from the World Junior Championship to the Olympic Games. In all, Luongo helped capture one World Cup, two World Championships, and two Olympic Gold Medals while donning the maple leaf.
However, one championship which has, and continues to evade Luongo is a lucrative Stanley Cup Championship. He came close in 2010-11 while with the Vancouver Canucks, forcing the Boston Bruins to a decisive seventh game in the Finals, yet ultimately came out on the losing end.
Nominee, or Lock?
In all, it goes without saying that Luongo has built a strong Hall of Fame resume throughout his career. Not only are his goaltending stats amongst the best today, but so too are they all time, ranking highly amongst the greatest to ever stop a puck.
Currently the active leader in games played, wins and shutouts, Luongo has been a model of consistency throughout his 15 years of play in the NHL. Sure, it has had its ups and down, and certainly its odd moments, yet Bobby Lou’s career and the performances he has contributed remain untarnished in the grand scheme of things. Although his name rarely arises in Hall of Fame discussion, likely due to the lack of a Stanley Cup ring, look for Luongo to receive considerable interest once eligible, as he is, quite quietly, one of the greatest, if not most entertaining, goaltenders of all-time.