Roberto Luongo Retires
Roberto Luongo, 40, has officially announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NHL. Luongo was drafted fourth-overall in the 1997 entry draft by the New York Islanders. He would eventually be traded to the Florida Panthers in 2000 where he spent six seasons. He was later traded to the Vancouver Canucks in 2006 but would end up back with the Florida Panthers from 2014 until his retirement.
Luongo retires from the NHL ranked second all-time amongst goalies with 1,044 games played, third all-time in wins with 489, and ninth all-time in shutouts with 77. Luongo also has two Olympic gold medals with team Canada.
Now without a clear number-one goalie on their roster, where does this announcement leave the Florida Panthers? Back-up goaltender James Reimer does have experience in the number-one slot from his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs but he struggled with consistency. Reimer played 36 games for the Panthers last season, putting together a record of 13-12-5. Prospect Sam Montembeault suited up for 11 games in the 2019 season, going 4-3-2. Neither of those records show much promise - especially in a division that includes the Tampa Bay Lightning.
What is most interesting is that the Florida Panthers used their first-round, 13th-overall pick in this year’s entry draft to select goaltender Spencer Knight. At the time, many reporters and fans thought the Panthers had made the wrong move, stating that goaltending was not one of Florida’s priorities. Fast forward to today and maybe the Panthers organization knew something that the public didn’t. It could be fair to say that the Panther’s head office may have suspected an impending Luongo retirement.
Florida Panthers' Offseason
It will be interesting to see what happens during the rest of the off-season for Florida. Spencer Knight, still only 18, most likely won’t see any ice-time at the NHL level next season, but he may be in the Florida crease sooner rather than later. In the meantime, will the Panthers put their trust in a Reimer/Montembeault tandem or will we see more moves being made in the months leading up to the 2020 season?
Florida Panthers: Odds to Win the Stanley Cup 2020
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