Vancouver Canucks, Roberto Luongo

Canucks Should Retire Hall of Famer Luongo’s Number

There is no magic formula on deciding whether or not the Vancouver Canucks should retire Roberto Luongo’s number-one or simply include him in the team’s Ring of Honour, the announcement the franchise made on Wednesday.

Milestones, statistics, the amount of time spent with the Canucks compared to the Florida Panthers in this case, and maybe in-market comparisons factor in, although they shouldn’t.

See Kirk McLean, which is ridiculous considering the latter lost 17 more games with the Canucks than he won. Yes, we’re familiar with the playoff runs, including the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, but neither of those is worthy of jersey retirement, nor Hockey Hall of Fame consideration. The latter would be considered laughable.

Luongo deserves both and recently received the latter.

We’re not electing a high school class president here, it’s not a popularity contest, and we’re not worried about contracts.

We’re talking about the goaltender with the most franchise wins and shut-outs who was held in high enough regard to defy NHL rules by being named team captain. More than half (252) of his 4th most wins (489) in NHL history occurred with the Canucks.

Does it bother people that his number was already retired by the Florida Panthers? It shouldn’t. See Patrick Roy. There are also eight non-goalies that have received the distinction of two-team sweater retirement.

Canucks Standards Vary for a Reason

The most extreme example of jersey retirement with limited local tenure is the Colorado Avalanche retiring Ray Bourque’s number-77 after 94 regular season games and two playoff seasons and a Stanley Cup win. A nod to “Borkie’s” impact on the team in 2001 of course, but also due to the fact that he’s the all-time leading scorer among defenceman in NHL history.

The Canucks should lean Luongo’s way for similar reasons, and we’re talking almost eight full seasons, not one or two. “Lu” played 76 games his first season in Vancouver, 73 the next, numbers that are unheard of now.

Stanley Cups don’t factor in for Luongo or anyone else with the Canucks, including the six names already hanging in the rafters. Not a point anyone should sweat.

There are countless examples of players not seeing their sweaters retired by various clubs for whatever reason. Goalie Chris Osgood feels deserving in Detroit having won three Stanley Cups including two as the starter a decade apart. He can’t get much of a sniff in both the jersey retirement or Hockey Hall of Fame departments.

Maybe someday. Dude won 401 games and spent 14 of his 17 seasons in Detroit.

So by comparison Luongo shouldn’t have his jersey retired. But then again, the Red Wings have been around close to a hundred years and have eleven Stanley Cup championships. Different animal, different standards.

Six Canucks forwards? Turn to the most important position on the ice. Let’s get a goalie up there. A Hockey Hall of Fame goalie.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.
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1 year ago

The vision in my head when I think of Luongo is him sprawled on his belly on the ice and the puck passing over him for a goal, he could never make that important save. I really can’t believe he’s in the HHOF