38-Year-Old Goalie – Florida Panthers
Roberto Luongo Contract Information:
Luongo signed a $27 million, four-year contract with the Canucks in June of 2006. The Canucks agreed to terms with Luongo on a 12-year extension worth $64 million in Sept. of 2009.
The Panthers placed Luongo (thumb) on injured reserve Saturday, Matthew DeFranks of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
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Roberto Luongo: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Luongo won 35 of his 60 starts for a much-improved Florida team in 2015-16, but he’ll likely fall short of that mark this season, as offseason hip surgery is likely to sideline him until early November. It was a banner year for Luongo, whose .922 save percentage represented his finest mark since 2010-11 – just another cherry on top of what could be a Hall of Fame career for the native of Montreal. However, concerns over the 37-year-old’s health and age prompted the Panthers to sign James Reimer to a five-year contract in the offseason, setting him up to be their goalie of the future. That said, the starting job should still be Luongo’s to lose once he returns. Those with the patience to wait out his injury could be getting one of the league’s better goaltenders at a massive discount if he doesn’t experience any setbacks.
The 36-year-old Luongo had a solid campaign in the Sunshine State in 2014-15, his first full season with the Panthers after he was re-acquired in March 2014. Playing in his most games in a season (61) since 2009-10, Luongo went 28-19-12 with a 2.35 GAA and a .921 save percentage, the latter two of which were his best marks since 2010-11. He did only have two shutouts last season, but his ability to keep the low-scoring Panthers consistently competitive shouldn't go overlooked. Goalies typically have a longer shelf life than their on-ice counterparts, however, Luongo has a lot of tread on his tires, having been a full-time netminder for almost 15 years and with more than 850 appearances in his career. Regardless, he doesn’t seem like a dramatic regression candidate just yet and should remain a middle-of-the-pack or even fringe top-10 fantasy goalie in 2015-16.
Luongo returned to Florida last year after an eight-year stay in Vancouver that ended tumultously despite his largely elite play. He played like a renewed man in 14 games for the Panthers in 2013-14, posting a 2.46 goals against and .924 save percentage despite seeing about three more shots per game. The Panthers defense should be improved for the coming season with the arrival of Willie Mitchell and first-overall pick Aaron Ekblad. Luongo should be expected to carry the load for the Panthers - expect him to get the start in around 60 games and post good numbers similar to last year. While it's not clear how much the Panthers are primed to win this year, Luongo will be their workhorse as long as he's healthy.
The 2012-13 season was a turbulent campaign for Luongo, as the four-time all star was dropped to a backup role for the Canucks. He was shopped around at numerous times, but Luongo’s expensive, long-term contract and the lockout-shortened schedule proved it impossible for the Canucks to find a suitor. Luongo handled himself professionally throughout the process and posted stats similar to his career norms, finishing 9-6-3 with two shutouts, a 2.56 goals-against average and .907 save percentage in 20 appearances. Most pundits believed Luongo would find a new home this past offseason, but the Canucks instead decided to trade Cory Schneider to the Devils, opening the door for Luongo to return to his No. 1 role between the pipes. During his last full season as a starting goalie, Luongo was among the league’s best with a 31-14-8 record, 2.41 goals-against average and five shutouts in 55 appearances. At 34, there still appears to be plenty of gas left in the tank and the combination of a light workload last season and the lack of a proven backup on the roster could force the Canucks to ride Luongo more heavily than in recent years. Luongo still has elite skills and a solid team skating in front of him, which will allow him to be a No. 1 fantasy option in net once again.
Despite all the hubbub that always seems to hover around Luongo, he continues to be one of the better all-around goalies in the league. In 2011-12, Luongo shook off surging backup Cory Schneider and the scorn of Vancouver’s diehard yet delusional fanbase to finish 31-14-8 with a 2.41 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and five shutouts in 55 starts. All of those numbers were right in line with his career norms except for wins, but that was due to a productive Schneider seeing more action. Even with the solid campaign, Luongo was evetnually relegated to backup duties in the playoffs and is now on the trading block. His massive contract (10 years remaining) will give many suitors pause, but one team will eventually end up with an elite goalie who’s still in his prime. While Luongo will be hard-pressed to land with a team better than the Canucks, he’ll likely be the No. 1 goalie no matter where he’s traded, which will make him a more appealling fantasy option than staying in Vancouver and splitting time with Schneider. Don’t shy away from Bobby Lou in drafts; he’s still an elite fantasy goaltender.
Despite uneven play during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Luongo still proved to be one of the best goaltenders in the league last year. He pitched four shutouts and finished the regular season with a record of 38-15-7, a nice complement to career-highs in goals-against average (2.11) and save percentage (.928). The Canucks consciously limited Luongo to 60 starts last season, and he’ll probably see around the same amount this year with Cory Schneider slated to be his backup once again. His postseason struggles may cause him to drop down some cheat sheets, but Luongo remains one of the few elite options at netminder in fantasy.
Despite being just one of five goalies in the NHL to win 40 or more games last season, Luongo had a down year. Bobby Lu posted a 2.57 goals-against average and .913 save percentage and just four shutouts -- his worst marks in each category since joining the Canucks. He also stumbled during the playoffs, going 6-6 with a 3.23 GAA and .895 save percentage. The Canucks responded by retooling their blue line this offseason to offer Luongo more support. Given his track record, we’re betting on a bounce-back campaign from Luongo. Enjoy getting him a little bit cheaper than usual in drafts this year.
The 2008-09 season was another banner year for Luongo. The 30-year-old propped the Canucks on his back once again, finishing 33-13-7 while setting career-highs in goals-against average (2.34) and shutouts (9). His stellar campaign came despite missing nearly two months of action with a groin injury. Health won't be a concern entering this season, so we should expect to see Luongo between the pipes for his usual 70-plus starts.
When it comes to safe bets in-between the pipes, Luongo should be near the top of the list. A constant workhorse, Luongo has started over 70 games in each of the past four seasons. The Canucks hope to give him more time off this season, but with Curtis Sanford as the backup, expect to see Luongo start 70-plus games again. The wear-and-tear of the season seemed to affect Luongo as the 2007-08 season wound down - he started each of the last 35 games of the season. If the Canucks manage to improve on offense, expect Luongo to better last year's totals of 35 wins, 2.38 goals-against average, and .919 save percentage.
Luongo is on the verge of proving he is the best goaltender in the league. The Canucks play a style of hockey designed to improve Luongo's vision across the ice and he will be able to see the shots much better and be in position to stop the bulk of them. Expect a rise in shutouts, while the rest of his stellar numbers stay, well, stellar.
Luongo is set to have his best season of his career. He has a skilled team skating in front of him and should have career numbers in wins, while maintaining his other stellar numbers. Expect a significant dropoff in shots faced, so keep that in mind if your league rewards higher shot counts.
Luongo was peeved the team took him to arbitration during the off-season, but it should light a spark beneath him. After all, if he truly is as emotionally hurt by the process as he's let on, he will only want to pad his numbers to make himself more marketable for future suitors on the free agent market. Add to that, Luongo will benefit considerably with a more mature defense in front of him. He's proven he can be a great goalie behind a bad team -- now might be his chance to prove he can be an elite goalie behind a good team.