Roberto Luongo: The face of the franchise
As a Canucks fan, I can’t help but feel giddy about the news today that Roberto Luongo has signed a 12-year contract extension. His annual salary breaks down as follows:
- 2010-2011 $10 million
- 2011-2012 $6.716 million
- 2012-2013 $6.714 million
- 2013-2014 $6.714 million
- 2014-2015 $6.714 million
- 2015-2016 $6.714 million
- 2016-2017 $6.714 million
- 2017-2018 $6.714 million
- 2018-2019 $3.382 million
- 2019-2020 $1.618 million
- 2020-2021 $1 million
- 2021-2022 $1 million
I agree the term is long – and no doubt it is a risk – but the resulting cap hit is a very respectable $5.3 million.
Think of what signal this signing sends to Vancouver Canucks fans and the rest of the league – by locking up Luongo long-term, the Canucks will now have one of the best goaltenders in the world during what should be the best part of his career, something Mike Gillis mentioned in an interview after the signing (via Pierre Lebrun, ESPN).
“If we were ever going to do [a long-term deal], this is the guy to do it with,” Gillis told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “You look at the position and the fact that in all likelihood he’s the best player at his position currently in the league. To purchase his prime time is something we had to do.”
And it’s something other players will look at when exploring their options in the free agent market. When Gillis stated that he wanted Vancouver to be a desirable place to play in, a lot of us focused on the off-ice stuff: the sleep experts, the travel analysis, the personal nutritionists, etc. On-ice, he now has Luongo as a selling point for the next 12 years as well. And while I realize this signing was just made official today, I’m sure it’s (i.e. the plan of signing Luongo long-term) something he mentioned during the negotiations with the Sedins, Burrows and Bernier and something he’ll mention when he sits down with Kesler and Mitchell.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Richard lamented the fact that Mike Gillis hasn’t yet pulled a signature move. Well, this is it. With one contract, Gillis has changed the face of this franchise. With Luongo in goal, the Canucks should be contenders for the better part of the next decade. Like Martin Brodeur’s teams are and like Patrick Roy’s teams were. Of course, the hope is that, like Brodeur and Roy, Luongo can bring the Canucks to the promised land.