In the league-leading seven consecutive seasons in which the Toronto Maple Leafs have failed to make the playoffs, the team’s netminding has been inconsistent.
When the puck drops again and the Leafs want to get into the playoffs sooner rather than later, then now is the time to go out and get a masked man who can do just that.
For the Leafs, that man should be Roberto Luongo.
Obviously, Luongo does not have the same market value that he did when he was traded by the Florida Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks after the 2005-06 season. He is older, has a much larger resume with some dark spots on it and has an unbelievably large and long contract.
While those are all good reasons to stay away from the 33-year-old goaltender, there are several good reasons for the Leafs to consider doing everything they can to acquire him. These reasons do not guarantee that he will help the Leafs win the Cup, but what it might do is help get the Leafs back into the postseason — where a team with solid goaltending can make the most noise.
For starters, Luongo is one of the most consistent goaltenders in the NHL. He has six straight 30-win seasons, has made the postseason four of the last six years, has posted at least a .913 save percentage in each of the last seasons and has picked up 37 shutouts.
Some will point out that statistics do not mean anything and that all that matters is what the player does in the postseason. While the latter is certainly true, these statistics show that Luongo is steady and provides the consistent goaltending that is needed to win games.
Luongo helped the Canucks to five Northwest Division titles, which guaranteed the Canucks one of the top three playoff spots in the Western Conference. When put into that kind of position, the team always has a chance to have success when it matters the most.
Secondly, Luongo does bring postseason experience to the table. In 2011, he came within one game of leading the Canucks to their first Cup in franchise history and had it not been for three sub-par performances, Luongo would have won a Cup and maybe even a Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player in the postseason.
The Leafs need someone like that between the pipes if they want to take the next step. Someone who knows what it takes to not only get into the postseason, but to have success in it as well.
Another good reason to acquire Luongo is because of the success that the team had with the likes of Curtis Joseph and Ed Belfour. In terms of CuJo, the Leafs acquired him when he was 31, which at the time was considered old for a netminder.
Nevertheless, CuJo went on to have four great years in the blue and white and took the team to the Eastern Conference Final twice. The Leafs had Belfour for three seasons and in two out of the last three, the Leafs made the postseason and got more than solid play from the “Eagle.”
One more good reason to acquire Luongo is for the fact that he would be a good mentor to the Leafs’ future goaltenders, whether it is James Reimer, Ben Scrivens or Jussi Rynass as he has done a solid job with Cory Schneider.
There will obviously be those that would disagree with the Leafs trying to acquire Luongo, but at this point, the Leafs need to at least think about upgrading their goaltending.
Who knows? Luongo might just end up being the answer for Leafs Nation.