With Christmas on the horizon and the decade coming to a close, it is the perfect time to rank the best Canucks of the 2010’s. This is the Canucks Advent Calendar.
Each day until Christmas I will rank one player until we have the top 25 of the 2010’s. These Vancouver icons will be ranked on their statistics, impact on the city and overall play during their time with Vancouver. Rankings will be based on the player’s Vancouver tenure during the 2010’s only, prior seasons with the team will make little impact to the rankings.
3. Roberto Luongo (2006 – 2014)
Statistics: 448 GP, 252 W, 137 L, .919 SV%, 2.36 GAA
No goalie in the 50 year history of the Vancouver Canucks has impacted the team like Roberto Luongo did. He was their star player for nearly a decade. Luongo joined the Canucks in 2006 through one of the biggest trades in franchise history. Although Luongo wasn’t able to bring that elusive Stanley Cup to Vancouver, he was able to bring elite goaltending.
Luongo joined the Canucks in 2006 through a block buster trade. Luongo left his home in Florida for the city of Vancouver. A city that before Luongo had never had a high-end goaltender. They’ve had good goaltenders in Richard Brodeur and Kirk McLean, but neither compared to Luongo.
Early Years in Vancouver
In his debut season, Canucks coaching staff felt very confident with Luongo in the crease. Confident enough to let him suit up for 75 games. Luongo would play extremely well, earning 47 wins and a Vezina nomination. Adding to this regular season was a bizarre playoff performance. A playoff game against Dallas went four overtimes where Luongo stopped 72 shots in a win. The most ever recorded in a game is 73.
Luongo would play fairly well during the following 2007-08 season. Although Vancouver would miss the playoffs Luongo would still secure 35 wins and six shutouts. This would be the only season that he missed the playoffs while playing for the Canucks.
The 2008-09 season was one of the best in Luongo’s career. He record a career best nine shutouts with only 13 regulation losses. This playoff run along with the run during the following 2009-10 would see the Canucks fall in heart breaking fashion. The Chicago Blackhawks took Vancouver out in the second round for two years in a row. These were some of the most heated, hard-fought games in Canucks history.
Cup Run & Goalie Controversy
Vancouver had a new goaltender join their team for the 2010-11 season. Their new backup was Cory Schneider. A former first round pick in his early twenties who had played phenomenal in the AHL. Him and Luongo had unbelievable season leading the Canucks to a league-best record. The tandem also was awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy for best combined SV%.
Not only was this a phenomenal season for Luongo, Schneider and the Canucks; it was a successful postseason. Vancouver was able to finally best Chicago in overtime of a seven game series. Luongo made an unbelievable save against Patrick Sharp to save the game in overtime. Luongo would play fairly well, barring a few off-nights. He would help take the Canucks to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals for only the second time in their history.
The Canucks would garner success the following season, winning the President’s Trophy yet again. However, Luongo would only play 55 games during the regular season as Schneider was given a bigger role. Controversy was sparking on the topic of whether or not Schneider would soon overtake Luongo. An answer would soon be provided.
Final Seasons With the Canucks
The 2012-13 was the final season that the two goaltenders would share the crease. Luongo would put up solid a record of 31-14-8. However, Vancouver would no longer sit atop their conference like in prior seasons. Luongo was now 33 years old and much of their core was aging at a similar rate. The playoffs brought disappointment as the Canucks failed to win a game.
During the 2013 draft, Canucks management decided which goaltender they wanted to stick with. Cory Schneider was dealt for a first round pick, giving the impression that Luongo was their guy. The Canucks’ new head coach John Tortorella would not get along well with Luongo throughout. This conflict was magnified after Tortorella sat Luongo during the Heritage Classic – the first outdoor game in franchise history. Luongo was furious and requested his trade which was granted to Florida at the trade deadline.
Although he spent more time in Florida than Vancouver, his best seasons came as a Canuck. Luongo holds several goaltender franchises records and has had the biggest impact out of all of the Canucks goalies. Luongo wasn’t just a goaltender, he was a franchise goaltender who was instrumental in some of the greatest seasons that Canucks fans have ever witnessed. For these reasons, Roberto Luongo is the third most impactful Canuck of the 2010’s.
I hope that you have enjoyed this installment of the Canucks Advent Calendar! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next player on the list!
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