Goalie Roberto Luongo to be first Panther to have number retired by team

The Florida Panthers will honour recently retired goaltender Roberto Luongo by making his No. 1 the first number ever retired by the organization.

The team said Monday that the ceremony will occur before its March 7, 2020, game against Luongo’s hometown Montreal Canadiens.

“Roberto is a cornerstone of Panthers history and an icon of the game,” Panthers owner Vincent J. Viola said in a release. “He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career.

“Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. His level of commitment to this franchise, his teammates, his family and the South Florida community is second to none. There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired.”

Led Canucks to 2011 Cup final

Luongo, 40, spent 10-plus seasons with the Panthers, including five seasons from 2000-06 and five-plus since returning via trade from the Vancouver Canucks in March 2014. The Montreal native is comfortably the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (230) and shutouts (38) while ranking second in save percentage (.919) and fourth in games played (572).

“I want to thank the entire Panthers organization for this incredible recognition,” Luongo said. “It’s quite an honour to be the first player to have his number retired by the Panthers. I’m truly looking forward to sharing this special night with my friends, family, teammates and the Panthers fans.”

Luongo also spent one year with the New York Islanders (1999-2000), who drafted him fourth overall in 1997, and seven-plus with the Canucks (2006-14). In 2010-11, he led the NHL in wins (38) and won the William M. Jennings Trophy as the Canucks allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and reached the Stanley Cup final.

He finished his career with a 489-392-124 record, .919 save percentage and 2.52 goals-against average in 1,044 appearances, with the latter figure trailing only Martin Brodeur (1,266) for most ever by an NHL goaltender.

Luongo ranks third in career wins behind only Brodeur and Patrick Roy.

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