For better or worse? Roberto Luongo is back in Florida.
Arguably the biggest (yet surely the most shocking) deal to be completed on the deadline day 2014 centered around the one and only, Roberto Luongo. Returning to Florida was originally seen by naysayers, fans and pundits alike (myself included in the mix) as a huge negative for his fantasy value. Going from a defense headlined by Olympians, Alex Edler & Dan Hamhuis, as well as stalwart, Kevin Bieksa to one with underachieving Dmitri Kulikov, Geezer – Jovocop et al, was not deemed to be a breeding ground for a renaissance period for Luongo.
However, Luongo is playing a different tune since re-emerging in sunshine state. I can't help but wonder what percentage of Floridians who made rare appearances at games this week, even realized he had left?! His second-coming debut with The Cats was reminiscent of days gone by with a stellar 25 save shutout! Though realistically, his next outing out against the lethal Boston Bruins rang more familiar bells as he was peppered with 41 shots – something of a nightly, weekly and annual tradition in his first go-around in Florida.
Check out Luongo's first three game spread back in Florida (below), culminating in a nice .924% Save Percentage thus far.
This can likely be attributed to the 'fresh start effect', insofar as getting his headspace away from the foul environment in Vancouver into a nicer (warmer) climate. That'll rejuvenate anyone dealing with mistreatment issues in a cold climate! (See the Heritage Classic Slap in the Face). However, with a very young team, alongside a couple wily veterans, the Panthers team is destined for yet another lottery pick this summer. As a fantasy GM and Luongo owner, only those of you in leagues counting Saves as opposed to Save Percentage stand to benefit here.
Contrast that with the first three games in Vancouver sans Luongo and stubborn John Tortorella must be wishing he