Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/10/12 at 04:30 AM ET
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
The decision over the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ goaltending position might be the most important of general manager Mike Gillis’s administration but, in analyzing things as they stand, there is one number that stands out for Roberto Luongo.
It is not the 10 years he has left on his contract. It’s not the $5.333 million US annual cap hit he represents. It’s not even the number of Stanley Cups he’s won.
No, those are all relevant in the great Vancouver goaltending debate but the most important number connected to Luongo is this: 21,743….
That number, in fact, represents the number of shots Luongo has faced in his 12-season NHL career. It is the third-highest total among current NHL goalies which isn’t overly alarming. But dig a little deeper and you begin to understand the Canucks may be confronting the law of diminishing returns with Luongo and, given what Cory Schneider represents, that creates a dilemma for Gillis….
The point is this: Unless Luongo is Brodeur, and there’s only been one of those since the lockout, the Canucks have to be concerned about the mileage he’s accumulated. He’s still an elite NHL goalie. His numbers have been stunningly consistent since he was traded here.
But what’s he going to look like two years down the road when he’s turning 35, especially if he doesn’t have Schneider around to lighten his load?
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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