Did you know that 36-year-old Roberto Luongo is now the second-oldest goalie in the NHL?
It’s true. The only one who’s older and still under contract is Minnesota’s 37-year-old Niklas Backstrom.
Luongo, of course, is very much under contract. He’s signed through 2021-22, to one of those front-loaded, back-diving deals they don’t allow anymore.
But you can forget the cap-recapture consequences for now, because Luongo is also coming off an excellent season, one in which he started 61 games for the Panthers and registered a .921 save percentage. Which is to say, he didn’t look like a guy on the verge of retirement.
Coach Gerard Gallant called Luongo “our MVP, our best player most nights.”
If Florida is to take a run at a playoff spot in 2015-16, Luongo will, in all likelihood, need to be just as good. The Panthers’ backup is Al Montoya, the 30-year-old who struggled last season (.892 SV%) and has just 88 NHL starts with four different teams to his name.
And make no mistake, the Panthers have their eyes on a playoff spot. They made a late surge last season after acquiring Jaromir Jagr, only to fall a few points short.
“We went toe-to-toe with everybody this year,” Luongo said at season’s end, per FOX Sports Florida. “The good teams, we played them well and we won some games. It’s just a matter of growing as a team, getting a bit more experience and taking the next step.
“We took a huge step this year, but we fell a little bit short. It’s really a matter of putting it all together next year.”