Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

Where does Luongo Fit in?

That is one question that is on the mind of every member of the hockey media these days when it comes to Vancouver Canucks’ netminder Roberto Luongo.

Bob McKenzie of TSN said yesterday that Luongo’s preference is to play on the Florida Panthers. However, McKenzie also said that the doors are not closed on the Toronto Maple Leafs even though there are reports that say the asking price for the 33-year-old netminder is too high.

Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie
End of day, Luongo has to make sure he doesn’t end up in CHI…with AHL Wolves. Right now, tho, FLA and TOR think VAN asking price too high.

Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie
...if FLA doesn’t pan out, doors to TOR or elsewhere are not by any means closed. Step by step process that hasn’t be formalized in any way.

Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie
Lot of Luongo talk about waiving/not waiving NTC. Here’s my take: Process has yet to be that formal. His obvious preference is FLA, but…

In my opinion, the best fit for Luongo is in Florida with the Panthers. For starters, he has had success there before.

From 2001 to 2006, Luongo was the Panthers’ best player and always put up above average numbers while playing behind a terrible Panthers’ defense. Luongo was an All-Star in the 2003-04 season while he was also nominated for his first Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender and his first Lester B. Pearson Award as the league’s most valuable player as voted by the players.

Secondly, the Panthers have gotten a lot better since Luongo left. The team made the playoffs this past season for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and came within one win of advancing to the second round of the postseason, something they have only done once (1995-96 season). If Luongo returns between the pipes in Florida, the Panthers could be even better this season.

Lastly, the microscope that would be put on Luongo in Florida is a lot smaller than the one that would be cast on him in the hockey-mad city of Toronto. In Toronto, everyone is obsessed with the Leafs’ every move, every game, every player and so on and so forth. While Luongo did pretty well with that in Vancouver, Toronto is a completely different hockey world than both Vancouver and Florida.

The obvious fit is Florida. Luongo has expressed as much and many members of the media have pointed this out already.

With that said, the Panthers are going to have to come up with something that Canucks’ general manager Mike Gillis needs and approves of. While the Panthers would probably be fine with either Scott Clemmensen or Jose Theodore in goal, Luongo would more than likely be an upgrade in the starting goaltender position.

If you are Panthers’ general manager Dale Tallon, what are you willing to give up to get Luongo?

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: bob+mckenzie, dale+tallon, florida+panthers, jose+theodore, mike+gillis, roberto+luongo, scott+clemmensen, toronto+maple+leafs, tsn, vancouver+canucks

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About Goal Line Report

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.

Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.