If you’ve ever wondered what being a gravedigger feels like just try being a Vancouver Canucks fan. The franchise has seen more goalie drama in their 45 year history than most teams do in a century of existence. Over the years the club has spent long stretches of time without a bona fide number one between the pipes. When the Canucks have been able to lure big name net-minders it seems as though their leash is quite short. Regardless of the frightening history in the Canucks’ crease, they have had the honor of some big name goaltenders dawning their sweaters.
4. Dan Cloutier (2001-2006)
Without a doubt the least popular name to make the list, Cloutier spent four seasons in Vancouver (the 2004-2005 season was lost to the year-long lockout). In his time with the Canucks he posted 109 wins in his 208 appearances including 14 shutouts.. His stats were average – a 2.42 GAA and .906 SV%. His legacy in Vancouver had less to do with his stats and more to do with the team’s transition from struggle to success. To be fair, Cloutier’s stats have him pretty high on Vancouver’s all-time records lists. He’s third in shutouts, third in goals against average and fourth in wins. The most stunning part of Cloutier’s tenure in Vancouver was the team’s transformation from bottom dweller to competitor. In the five seasons leading up to Cloutier’s reign as the Canucks goaltender the team missed the playoffs four out five years. The only season that made the playoffs there were swept in embarrassing fashion to the Colorado Avalanche. Cloutier helped the team qualify for the post-season four out five seasons he was there.
3. Richard Brodeur – “King Richard” (1980-1988)
Brodeur was part of a different era. His stats don’t necessarily reflect the impact he had on Vancouver’s franchise. When he left the club in 1988 he had accumulated 377 games played with 126 wins to his name (and six shutouts). His career GAA and SV% with the Canucks don’t even have him in the top ten for each category but his games played and wins are good for third on both lists. In Brodeur’s second year with the club he helped carry a dark horse Canucks squad to the Stanley Cup Finals where they were defeated in a convincing manner by the New York Islanders. The team never had immense regular season success with Brodeur. In fact the they didn’t post a .500 record once in the eight seasons that Brodeur played. He did help the team make the playoffs five out of eight seasons.
2. Kirk McLean “Captain Kirk” (1987-1998)
In Brodeur’s last year with the Canucks entered Kirk McLean – the future of the Canucks rebuild efforts under Pat Quinn. McLean brought the Canucks into a new era, where winning became a more of an expectation than before, and fans in Vancouver had a team they could rely on much more. Over his eleven years in Vancouver McLean amassed 516 games (first all time), 211 wins (second all time), 20 shutouts (second all time), a 3.28 GAA and a .866 SV%. The Canucks qualified for the playoffs eight out of eleven years and made a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1993-94, losing in seven games to the New York Rangers. He was selected as a nominee for two Vezina Trophies as well as being chosen to play in two NHL All-Star games while with the Canucks organization.
1. Roberto “Lou” Luongo (2006-2014)
There is without question no better goaltender in Vancouver Canucks history than Roberto Luongo. The future hall of famer is at the top of almost every category in Canucks history. Luongo suited up for 448 regular season games posting 252 wins (first all time), 38 shutouts (first all time), a 2.36 GAA (second all time) and a .919 SV% (second all time). The last two stats stand second to only Cory Schneider who wasn’t eligible for this list because he played under 150 games for the club, in fact he was in net for only 98 games in Vancouver. Luongo’s seven and half years in Vancouver saw the club miss the playoffs only twice (in 2013-14 Luongo did not much to do with that outcome, as Eddie Lack took over half way through the year). The team got to game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals losing to the Boston Bruins. Although Luongo’s time in Vancouver became quite tumultuous after that let down, his legacy cannot be denied. Under Luongo’s control the team captured six division titles, two President’s Trophies, a Stanley Cup Final appearance and posted over 50 victories in the regular season twice.