Though it’s probably not the way he wants it to come, the end of Roberto Luongo’s playing career could be approaching as soon as next season.
As Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Saturday during the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada, the 39-year-old goalie’s declining health could force him to effectively retire.
“Growing speculation that Roberto Luongo’s health may cost him playing in the National Hockey League in the future,” Kypreos said. “Now, the good news, I guess, when it comes to the contract is, if that’s the case, he’ll go to training camp, fail his physical and that will force him to go to the long-term injured reserve. He would get the remainder of his three-year contract and there’s no recapture penalties to the Florida Panthers and, more importantly, to the Vancouver Canucks.”
Luongo, of course, is still under contract for three years and owed just under $16 million from the monstrous 12-year, $64-million deal he signed with the Canucks in 2009.
This season, Luongo has struggled, recording a .900 save percentage in 41 games played.
As mentioned by Kypreos, the idea that Luongo could spend the rest of his days on the LTIR would be good for Florida and Vancouver. And in the Panthers’ case, doing so would add clarity to a potential move Kypreos believes they are looking to make in the off-season.
“What coincides, I think, with the Luongo news is Sergei Bobrovsky,” said Kypreos. “There’s talk that they (Panthers) may take a real healthy run at him, and certainly they’re gonna need him if Luongo does shut it down.”
Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.