Florida Panthers legend Roberto Luongo now in Hall of Fame
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Roberto Luongo is one of the newest members of the Hockey Hall of Fame as the former Florida Panthers goalie will be inducted as part of the Class of 2022.
Luongo played 19 seasons in the NHL with 11 coming with the Panthers.
His former Vancouver teammates — Daniel and Henrik Sedin — will join him in Toronto.
“Both of those teams were a huge part of my career and my life,” Luongo told me in 2020 of playing for the Panthers and Canucks.
“A lot of my success in the NHL came in Vancouver from the Olympics to the playoffs and the Stanley Cup final. It was a huge part of my life and I’m grateful for both of them, they’re both great in their own ways. I don’t have a preference one way or another, there were great times in my life, both of them. I feel kind of extra lucky to have been able to enjoy both sides of that.”
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Luongo was originally set to be the New York Islanders’ goalie for years after being the fourth overall pick in 2017.
But then the Islanders took Rick DiPietro with the top pick in 2000, Luongo was expendible.
Bryan Murray and Bill Torrey pounced and helped pull off perhaps the biggest draft steal in franchise history — getting Luongo and Olli Jokinen for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha.
The Panthers would return the favor in 2006, trading Luongo to Vancouver in a draft-time deal the franchise almost immediately regretted making.
Luongo became a superstar in Vancouver, leading the Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals as well as winning Gold with Team Canada.
On March 4, 2014, Dale Tallon finally finalized the long-rumored deal that Luongo would come back to the Panthers.
Luongo played his final six seasons with the Panthers — with Florida only making the playoffs once.
“We made the playoffs only one year so that was disappointing,’’ Luongo said in 2020, just days before his No. 1 was hung from the rafters.
“But when I came back here, I saw the potential and there was a vision. We got close a couple of years but we were only able to get in one year and then we were out in the first round. I wish we could have done more on the ice, but that’s the way it is.”
Luongo, who makes his home in Parkland, ended up spending 11 seasons with the Panthers and holds every major franchise record including games played (572), wins (230), shutouts (38), saves (16,086), single-season games played (75, 2005-06), single-season saves (2,303, 2003-04) and single-season shutouts (tied – 7, 2003-04).
A three-time All-Star while with the Panthers, Luongo was a finalist for the 2003-04 Vezina Trophy after posting a franchise-record .931 save percentage over 72 games.
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Just think, if Mike Keenan hadn’t had a tantrum, Lou could have been a Panther during his peak years.
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