The Roberto Luongo era is coming to an end in Vancouver. Everything that has transpired over the past few days would indicate that Roberto Luongo is on his way out of Vancouver. Rewind the clock just two or three years ago and this notion would have been unthinkable. Now, with Cory Schneider all but dominating the Canucks’ crease, Roberto Luongo finds himself at a crossroads with the organization that rewarded him with a massive, $64million, 12 year pact essentially naming him their franchise player. It would appear that times have changed. With Schneider manning the wheel, Roberto will certainly want out of Vancouver. He’s good enough to be a number one goalie on most teams in this league. Guys like Roberto aren’t available for trade every day.
When you take a look at the teams looking for a goaltender, it’s not hard to see that said teams reside in less than desirable living locations. Places like Edmonton, Columbus and New Jersey aren’t exactly hot-spots on any NHLer’s list. However, one team name jumps right off the page as attractive; that team would be the Tampa Bay Lightning. When looking at the teams who may have interest in Roberto, you then have to ask yourself where he would waive his NTC to go. From that perspective, Tampa is not only the most attractive location but it also makes the most sense.
Roberto is a big family guy; he always has been and he always will be. Roberto’s wife and her family are from Florida. Would it not be comforting for him, her and the family to have him playing back down here? It only makes sense. Roberto is very much a guy who relies on mental stability. I’m not sure that there’s anything more stable than constantly being around people who will support you through thick and thin. Family could definitely be a draw for the 33 year old netminder when he weighs his options this summer.
Every Tampa Bay Lightning fan remembers Roberto Luongo from his Florida Panthers days. Not only did he stone the Lightning on multiple occasions, he also played some of the best hockey I’ve seen out of any goaltender in recent memory. Roberto is comfortable playing down in Florida. As mentioned, he is a very mental being. Coming back to a state, a climate, an area where he has had success can only help the guy. His history in Vancouver has been anything but stellar; it could be good for him to get back to the place where everything started for him.
In Vancouver, if Roberto lets in a soft goal, he is absolutely roasted by the fans at the rink. However, the bashing doesn’t stop there; it continues in the media, in public and everywhere else imaginable. Back in Florida, Roberto would find that he could go out and live his life in relative obscurity. While fans like myself, and some of my readers, may be hard on him at times, that’s passion more than hate. It’s a different sort of atmosphere down here than it is up in Canada. Tampa Bay Lightning fans would love the opportunity to support the team’s new number one guy.
Overall, there are a lot of great reasons for Roberto to come to Tampa. If Steve Yzerman has any brains, he’ll try and make a pitch for Bobby Lu. The guy is a proven winner, contrary to what people might say, and he knows what it takes to be successful down here. With guys like Stamkos, St. Louis, Purcell and Connolly, why wouldn’t Roberto want to join the party? The culture down in Tampa is great right now and you know players will want to be a part of it come this summer.
Thanks for reading.