Former Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo announced his retirement on Wednesday. Here is a look back on his legacy with the franchise.
Luongo spent 11 seasons in Florida, but the greatest run of his career was with the Canucks — where he played from 2006-07 to 2013-14. ‘Bobby Lou’ only saw the playoffs once in the Sunshine State (2015-16), but he saw plenty of more success as the ultimate game-changer in Vancouver.
The Canucks acquired Luongo, blueliner Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick from the Panthers in a blockbuster trade during the 2006 offseason, with Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld going the other way.
Luongo turned out to be the final piece the Canucks needed to emerge as a powerhouse in the Western Conference. He led Vancouver to their greatest stretch run in franchise history, which is why his tenure with the club will always be viewed as positive and highly successful.
The rise of ‘Bobby Lou’
In his first season with the Canucks, Luongo went 47-22-6 with a .921 save percentage, 2.28 goals against average and five shutouts. He led the Canucks to a Pacific Division title and earned Vezina and Hart Trophy nominations.
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Vancouver fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the postseason, but it was only the start of Luongo’s storied tenure in Vancouver.
The Canucks missed the playoffs in 2007-08, and Luongo was limited to 53 starts in 2008-09 after suffering a groin injury in November.
Nonetheless, Vancouver won the Pacific Division title once again, and Luongo managed to set a career-high in shutouts with nine. However, they were dispatched by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round.
Before the 2009-10 season, Luongo signed a 12-year extension worth $64 million. Although the Canucks won the Pacific Division for a second straight year, Luongo struggled statistically (.913 save percentage, 2.57 goals against average).
Vancouver was eliminated by Chicago in the second round for a second straight year. However, also he backstopped Canada to Olympic gold at the 2010 Winter games in Vancouver, which will certainly go down as the highlight of his pro hockey career.