Canucks backup to play large role behind Roberto Luongo

According to Torts…

Lack, Eriksson to fill void left by Cory Schneider‘s departure

Roberto Luongo will undoubtedly be the Vancouver Canucks‘ starting goaltender this season, but the battle to hold his iPad has only just begun. Both Eddie Lack and Joacim Eriksson will get a good look at the backup role during training camp, and the winning candidate can expect a significant regular season workload according to John Tortorella.

Following Friday’s first team scrimmage the Canucks’ head coach talked about the role he sees Roberto Luongo playing this season, hinting he may have to hold back on his starter with playoff success in mind.

“You go through the history of Stanley Cup winners, you’re in that area of 60-65 (games).  I’m not sure if we’re going to do that, we’ll see how it goes.” 

Roberto Luongo may end up on the bench more often than he likes again this season.

Roberto Luongo may end up on the bench more often than he likes again this season.

While we are only in the early stages of training camp (to the point that Tortorella still doesn’t know all the players yet) this projection leaves a large body of work for Vancouver’s backup to take on this season.

The likelihood that Roberto Luongo will be a returning member of Team Canada during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi only further underscores the importance of managing his workload, but what is there to do with a goaltender who loves playing night in and night out?

“I cut Lundqvist back a lot, it took me a couple years to explain to him, and for him to understand because he wanted to play so many games,” Tortorella told the media.

Like Henrik Lundqvist before him, Roberto Luongo likes to get into a rhythm by playing as often as he can, but that simply doesn’t correlate well with Stanley Cup success.

Daniel Wagner of The Score has already outlined why you don’t want your team’s goaltender playing in the Olympics, and Luongo is the poster boy of the argument.

“The four goaltenders who saw the most precipitous drop in save percentage post-Olympics saw heavy duty for their respective teams. Vokoun played in 63 games for the Panthers, Luongo played 68 games for the Canucks, Nabokov played 71 games for the Sharks, and Kiprusoff played in 73 games for the Flames.

Add in playoff games for Luongo and Nabokov and you get to 80 and 86 games, respectively,” Wagner wrote in August.

“The lowest post-Olympics save percentage belonged to Roberto Luongo, who ended up with the worst save percentage of his career in the 2009-10 season, other than his rookie season.

He bettered (worsted?) it, however, during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, though it’s hard to tell how much stock to put into the 20 games he played given the small sample size and turmoil of the goaltending situation in Vancouver.”

So while we all know Luongo is capable of playing 70+ regular season games and putting up sublime numbers in the process, the Canucks’ post-season aspirations may demand a patient approach this season.

Cory Schneider is long gone, and yet Vancouver’s backup goaltender remains set to play a serious role in the team’s success during the 2013-14 season .


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About Kevin Vanstone

Born in Vancouver, and a student at UVIC. "The Flying V" follows all things Canucks hockey and covers the best in CIS athletics around the Pacific Northwest. He loves to write about the athletes that used to show him up in his playing days.
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