Roberto Luongo: Rightful Goaltender of the Vancouver Canucks

Khalil KassamContributor IJune 12, 2012

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 04:  Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on as he defends the goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on February 4, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Canucks defeated the Avalanche 3-2 in an overtime shoot out.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

If you were to traverse through the streets of any hockey crazed city in North America, mention of the name Roberto Luongo would be echoed with cries of "choke artist" or "overrated." His egotistical attitude and apparent poor play in big games has led to him legitimately being one of the most hated players in the entire NHL.

These labels are warranted aren’t they? I mean, he is the goalie who started last year's Stanley Cup Finals, in which he was pulled twice and had a road goals against average above eight.  And he also is the goalie who lost his starting job after two straight losses to open up the 2012 Playoffs.

While these are the memories of Luongo that stick out in everyone’s minds, they aren’t the only ones.

People seem to forget how it was Luongo who made the series saving stop on Patrick Sharp in Game 7 vs. Chicago and how it was Luongo who had two shutouts in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Canucks could barely muster anything past Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. 

While he has the statistics to prove that he is the best goaltender in Canucks history, Roberto Luongo is generally viewed as Public Enemy No. 1 in both Vancouver and in the NHL community.

The majority of armchair general managers who support the Canucks team feel that trading Luongo is a necessary move that must be completed as soon as possible. Trading away a franchise goaltender such as Luongo is not only risky, but also an unnecessary.

While many predict his successor, Cory Schneider, to become just as good of a goaltender as Luongo, if not better, it must be kept in mind that this is solely a prediction. Cory Schneider has yet to prove himself over a grueling 82 game NHL regular season, which is something that Luongo has done for a decade.

Even though Schneider does have all the necessary tools to become a successful NHL goaltender, he also has much greater trade value than his older counterpart. Retaining Roberto Luongo as the Canucks primary goaltender will bode well for the Vancouver franchise in terms of their overall team. He was brought in from Florida in order to deliver the city of Vancouver its first Stanley Cup, and at this point in time, he should still be considered as the rightful goaltender of the Vancouver Canucks.