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Why Was Roberto Luongo the Best Vancouver Canucks’ Goalie of All Time?

Roberto Luongo will someday be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Why was he so good with the Canucks?

As the 2019-20 NHL season moved towards a surprise suspension of play, one thing the Vancouver Canucks learned is that they’re a much better team with Jacob Markstrom in goal than when he isn’t there. Sure, Thatcher Demko is growing as a goalie and offers the team a chance to win every time he skates into the nets, but he isn’t Markstrom.

With the big Swede in net, the Canucks were sitting in a playoff position: without him, they risked sliding out of one. That’s always the case with good goalie play, and it’s true for any NHL team. Ergo, in this hiatus as we wait for the 2019-20 season to end with some sort of capstone experience – a Stanley Cup – or simply fade into history, it begs the question:

Who has been the Canucks’ best goalie of all time? Here’s a look at why I chose Roberto Luongo as the best goalie in Canucks franchise history.

Related: Who Are the Three Greatest Vancouver Canucks’ Forwards of All Time?

Roberto Luongo: The Best Canuck Goalie of All Time

I’m certain no one’s surprised that I picked Roberto Luongo as the best Canucks goalie ever. He was always newsworthy, he was obviously a leader because the team actually named him captain, and he simply played consistently well.

When I lived in Edmonton, I recall one day having lunch with work colleagues at a major hotel and in walked the Canucks’ team, who was playing that evening against the Oilers. Although it was many years ago now, I still remember Luongo striding into the hotel. He carried himself with confidence – he was well-dressed, striking in appearance, and with a swagger that one could simply see.

That swagger translated into the 448 games he played with the Canucks, second only to Kirk McLean. Luongo, however, had 41 more wins and no other Canucks goalie has had as many shutouts (38). Once Luongo was asked why he wore jersey #1 and he comment was that it spoke for itself. That’s confidence.

Luongo Carried His Team Game after Game

Luongo could carry the team. Perhaps his most amazing game ever was his 72-save masterpiece (the game went into four overtimes) against the Dallas Stars in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That amazing performance continues to stand as a record. During the 2010-11 playoffs, Luongo led the team to the Stanley Cup Final but they lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7.

Notably, Luongo became Canucks captain from 2008-10. That move showed the team’s respect for his leadership.

During 2006-2007, Luongo won 47 games, with a 2.28 goals-against average, and a .921 SV%. He was nominated for the Vezina and the Hart trophies as well as the Lester B. Pearson Award. That season he set Canucks records for most wins in a season (47), most shutouts (9), and lowest goals against (2.11).

Related: The Vancouver Canucks’ Top Three Defensemen of All-Time

Over his career, Luongo ranks third in NHL wins all time, and he’s only behind  Hall-of-Famers Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy. Certainly, he’s a lock to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In short, Luongo’s time with the Canucks was exciting and he was, by far, the best goalie the team has ever had.

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