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Luongo first-ballot Hall of Fame credentials debated by NHL.com

Goalie retired from League third all-time in wins, second in games, saves

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Goalie Roberto Luongo announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NHL on Wednesday. 

He ranks third all-time in wins with 489, behind Martin Brodeur (691) and Patrick Roy (551); second in games played with 1,044, behind Brodeur (1,266) and second in saves with 28,409, behind Brodeur (28,928). But is he among that special class of player that could be honored with a first-ballot election into the Hockey Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in three years? We asked eight NHL.com writers for their opinions.

 

Dave Stubbs, columnist

First ballot absolutely. The selection committee could put Luongo in the Hall of Fame for his self-deprecating sense of humor alone, but they'd probably want to look at his stats as well. And they're seriously great: 489 career victories, third on the all-time list; his .919 career save percentage is the best among the seven goalies who have played in 900 or more games; he's a two-time Olympic gold medalist, double world-championship gold medalist and World Cup of Hockey 2016 champion too. Luongo's leadership skills in the dressing rooms where he suited up, and beyond those walls -- his address following the horrific 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting -- are Hall of Fame-worthy as well. Luongo's shopping list of accomplishments doesn't check the boxes of Stanley Cup or Vezina Trophy, but the impact he had wherever he went and the fact he became a template for a next generation of goalies puts him in the shrine the minute he's eligible.

Video: Darren Pang joins the show to discuss Roberto Luongo

 

Nick Cotsonika, columnist

First ballot? No. To me, there should be the highest of bars for first-ballot Hall of Famers. When I think of goalies, I think of guys like Brodeur, Dominik Hasek and Roy. Luongo didn't win the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy, the Hart Trophy or the Vezina, let alone any of them multiple times. At best, he was the runner-up for the Hart once. He was a finalist for the Vezina three times, the runner-up once; he did win the William M. Jennings Award (team goalies, fewest goals allowed) with the Vancouver Canucks in 2011. But I don't want this to turn into something negative. Hall of Famer? Yes. For all the reasons Stubbs mentioned. And just like he did with his retirement, Luongo should announce his election on Twitter.

 

Dan Rosen, senior writer 

It pains me to agree with Nick (I kid, I kid), but I do have to agree with our esteemed columnist and disagree with Dave, our other esteemed columnist. Luongo will get in the Hall of Fame, but I think he should have to wait a year or two after becoming eligible in 2022. Here's the proverbial rub, though: Luongo will likely be the most deserving first-time eligible candidate in 2022, especially because San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton plans to play next season, and that might be enough to make Luongo a first-ballot Hall of Famer depending on the other candidates who will have already been waiting. Then again, the selection committee didn't include a first-time eligible NHL player this year, so there is your precedence for Luongo to have to wait it out. He'll get his day, but no Stanley Cup and no Vezina Trophy should equal no dice on the first ballot. 

 

Tim Campbell, staff writer

Count me with Mr. Rosen and Mr. Cotsonika in the no column, not on the first ballot. Put yourself in the chair of any member of the selection committee in 2022, when Luongo becomes eligible for selection. I think there is little doubt his candidacy will be viewed favorably, but a first-time-eligible selection would lower the bar on the credentials required for such an accolade. Without winning a Stanley Cup and a Vezina Trophy -- and as Nick wisely suggested, multiples of those would be preferred -- I can't see the committee doing it at first opportunity. Better players have waited; Luongo will, too, and it will not diminish a brilliant career.

 

Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Not to pile on against Luongo, but I don't see a first-ballot election in his future. We all appreciate how good he is with the media, the wit of his Twitter account and the class with which he handled the 2018 Parkland shooting. They make Luongo a Hall of Fame person, but they are not criteria for getting into the Hockey Hall of Fame. If we are differentiating the elite of the elite who are voted in the first time they are eligible, Luongo doesn't make the cut for the reasons my colleagues have previously discussed. Not only did Luongo not win the Stanley Cup, but his meltdown in the road games (0-3, pulled twice, 8.05 goals-against average, .733 save percentage) was one of the main reasons the Canucks lost the 2011 Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins after leading 2-0 and 3-2 in that series. So he'll have to wait, but will get in eventually.

Video: Goldstein analyzes 19-season career of Roberto Luongo

 

William Douglas, staff writer

I love Bobby Lu for all he has done on and off the ice with the Florida Panthers and Canucks, but he's not a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Though he was a very good goalie, I'm with my colleagues who point out Luongo never won a Stanley Cup or Vezina Trophy, demerits for a first-ballot entry. And I struggle to see how you could let Luongo into the Hall and keep out a more decorated goalie like Tom Barrasso, who has two Stanley Cup championships [1990-91 and 1991-92], the Vezina Trophy [1983-84], the William M. Jennings Trophy [1984-85] and the Calder Trophy [1983-84] on his resume.

 

Tracey Myers, staff writer

I'm going with the majority on this debate. Is Luongo a future Hall of Famer? Sure. First ballot? I don't think so. As Nick mentioned, when you think first-ballot Hall of Fame goalies, you think of Brodeur and Roy, among others. Luongo equals them in longevity but not hardware. He'll get his call to the Hall, but not right away. All that said, if there were a social media Hall of Fame, Luongo should be a first-ballot induction and should have his name as part of that Hall. And his palm-tree emoji tweet, the one he sent when he was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Florida Panthers, should be bronzed.

 

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

I agree with the overwhelming consensus here: Luongo is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but I don't think he's a first-ballot inductee. But in the end, it doesn't matter what I think. It's what the committee thinks. There's the rub. There are two factors here which will make this debate fascinating. First, what goes through the committee's collective minds? Hands up, all those out there who thought Vaclav Nedomansky would get into the Hall before Alexander Mogilny? Didn't think so. Second, what will the quality be of the candidates who are eligible when Luongo is? Will it be a legendary class like in 2007, featuring Ron Francis, Al MacInnis, Mark Messier and Scott Stevens, making it practically impossible for anyone else to get in? Or will it be like the 2019 edition where Nedomansky and Guy Carbonneau raised a few eyebrows? The possibility of a first-ballot election remains but seems unlikely. It will be interesting how it unfolds.

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