My Take: Five reasons why the Panthers should trade for Luongo

Since day one of the Panthers' off-season, the Roberto Luongo trade rumors to Florida have reared their not-so-ugly head seemingly every other day. Arguably the best goaltender the team ever had, Luongo set franchise records for Games Played, Wins, Saves, and Shutouts, along with the single-season save percentage record of .931 (which he achieved in 72 games) in 2003-04.

After the jump, my five arguments as to why the Cats should re-acquire Bobby Lou...

2009-10 VAN 30 68 40 22 4 2.57 .913 .925 58.2% 11.4 0.3 -0.4 11.3
2010-11 VAN 31 60 38 15 7 2.11 .928 .934 68.3% 30.5 0.3 -3.6 27.3
2011-12 VAN 32 55 31 14 8 2.41 .919 .929 57.4% 15.1 -0.4 -2.3 14.4

1. Luongo is an amazing goalie!

Top ten goaltenders of all-time by GVT

1 Tony Esposito 1968-1984 886 2.92 2563 27299 .906 436.9 -5.2 431.7
2 Patrick Roy 1984-2003 1029 2.54 2546 28353 .910 421.7 9.4 431.1
3 Dominik Hasek 1990-2003 735 2.20 1572 20220 .922 411.5 0.5 410.1
4 Jacques Plante 1952-1973 837 2.38 1964 24666 .920 358.7 12.9 371.6
5 Glenn Hall 1952-1971 906 2.49 2222 26845 .917 330.8 10.3 341.1
6 Martin Brodeur 1991-Present 1191 2.23 2603 29915 .913 256.4 42.3 307.4
7 Bernie Parent 1965-1978 608 2.55 1493 17576 .915 299.5 1.8 301.3
8 Roberto Luongo 1999-Present 727 2.52 1749 21675 .919 298.7 -18.9 279.0
9 Ken Dryden 1970-1979 397 2.24 870 11092 .921 270.0 8.4 278.4
10 Ed Belfour 1988-2007 936 2.50 2317 24751 .906 250.2 17.8 266.4

Eight of the ten players listed are in the Hall of Fame, and the other two will/should be in when they end their careers. Luongo finished 12 in the NHL in save percentage and eighth in even strength save percentage. Luongo finished 77th overall in GVT, 15th for goalies, behind Antti Niemi by 0.3 and ahead of Semyon Varlamov by 1.3.

2. He's a huge upgrade over Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen

Saying Luongo is an upgrade over Theo and Clemmy is an understatement. As Cee Lo Green would say "Roberto Luongo is an Xbox, Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen are an Atari". While Jose Theodore did post his best GVT since 07-08, and his best post-lockout save percentage, he'll also be 36 in September. Clemmensen, who turned 35 in July, has been a solid backup, but inconsistent during long stretches. Factor in the loss of Jason Garrison, the Panthers best player by GVT, and downgrade of Filip Kuba, the Panthers are going to need help repeating their team .914 Sv%. Luongo, who will be 33 in April, is one of the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL, and has posted a better Sv% then both goalies since the lockout.

3. It helps G Jacob Markstrom

The Panthers want Markstrom to spend another year in the AHL with San Antonio, which is reasonable. But what about 2013-14? Clemmensen is the only goalie signed to a one-way contract next season, and if/when Markstrom is re-signed, he'll be the best goalie on the roster. So rather than tossing him into a starting role with a inconsistent backup, why not have Markstrom backup and learn from one of the best goaltenders to ever play hockey? Boston and Vancouver have done the exact approach, with Cory Schneider having the best quality start percentage for the last three seasons and Tuukka Rask having a career .926 Sv%. Heck, the Panthers did the same with Craig Anderson and Tomas Vokoun, which almost got them into the playoffs.

4. It gives Florida a chance to make the playoffs

The Tampa Bay Lightning have quietly boosted their team into contention in the Southeast. In fact, it weren't for the Wild signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, they would have been the most improved team over the off-season, with the addition of huge goalie Anders Lindback, defensemen Matt Carle, Sami Salo and Matt Taormina, and scoring depth forwards Benoit Pouliot and Kyle Wilson. The Jets added more offensive firepower with Olli Jokinen and Alexei Ponikarovsky, and the Hurricanes added Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin. The Capitals, the most offensively talented team in the division, added Mike Ribeiro. Oh, and Wojtek Wolski.

The Panthers however, added Kuba on D, George Parros (if you want to call him an addition), and fellow forward Peter Mueller. Unless a trade happens, Florida is likely going to score the least amount of goals in the division, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost. A 2-1 win is worth as many points as a 5-3 win, and with Luongo on the roster, the Panthers will have the best goaltending in the division. It also pushes the Cats from negative change in GVT, to positive change. Which will leave only the Caps as the only team in the division to "lose" goals.

5. His contract might actually help

Luongo's cap hit is $5,333,333, Ed Jovanovski's cap hit is $4,125,000, while Kuba clocks in at $4,000,000 (with a no-movement clause). Jovo and Kuba are 35+ contracts, which under the current CBA means even if both players retire, the cap hit stays with the Panthers. With the bulk of Dale Tallon's draftees expected to contribute to the NHL roster in the final year of Jovanovski's contract (2014-15), and the salary cap showing no sign of decreasing, the Panthers will need a player, beside Brian Campbell, to take up a large chunk of the payroll. And who better than a guy who can contribute in the NHL and has a $5 Million cap hit?

As well...

  • The Panthers get the best player ever to suit up for them back in the fold, and unlike Jovo, in his prime
  • Veteran leadership in the locker room, if you're into that, but better yet...
  • Veteran leadership that will help a young, developing defensive prospect corps
  • He reportedly wants to return
  • He brings Star Power and name recognition (locally) to a team that doesn't have much, for what that's worth/

If Luongo were a comic, he'd be Rodney Dangerfield. He's one of best goalies in the NHL, remains in his prime, and yet can't find any respect! Perhaps he'll finally get the respect he deserves when the Florida Panthers get engraved into Lord Stanley's Cup.