When the Vancouver Canucks face the Florida Panthers on December 14, Roberto Luongo will go up into the Canucks' Ring of Honour.
His former teammate, Cory Schneider, thinks that's the wrong move.
Schneider recently announced his retirement from hockey at the age of 37 after a couple of final seasons in the AHL. The Canucks' first-round pick from the 2004 draft spent several seasons as Luongo's backup and, ever-so-briefly, as the starter ahead of Luongo in Vancouver, so he's very familiar with the Hall-of-Famer.
And Schneider believes that Luongo shouldn't be in the Ring of Honour; instead, his number should be retired.
"I'm the biggest Roberto supporter in the world, I can't speak highly enough of him," said Schneider on the Sekeres and Price Podcast. "For me, I think his number should be retired."
The case for Luongo to have his number retired is remarkably strong. He's the franchise leader in wins and shutouts by a wide margin and only Schneider himself, who played far fewer games in Vancouver, bests him in goals against average and save percentage.
More than that, Luongo is one of the all-time great goaltenders in NHL history and was a well-deserved first-ballot Hall of Famer. He's second all-time in games played and saves made behind Martin Brodeur, fourth all-time in wins despite playing for some dire Florida Panthers teams, and ninth all-time in shutouts and save percentage.
At the same time, Schneider said that he understood the position of those who feel putting Luongo in the Ring of Honour is the right move.
"I understand the debate, though, he wasn't here as long as maybe some other guys who do have their numbers retired," said Schneider. "But I think the peak he played at for as long he played here...I kind of compare it to a guy like Pavel Bure, who may not have been there forever, but his peak was the absolute peak. Not many guys come through organizations like that."
When you look at the Canucks who have their numbers retired — Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, Pavel Bure, Markus Näslund, and the Sedins — it's clear that Luongo belongs in that group and not the Ring of Honour with Orland Kurtenbach, Kirk McLean, Thomas Gradin, Harold Snepsts, Pat Quinn, Mattias Ohlund, and Alex Burrows.
"I would always hold Roberto in that echelon of players that came through the organization," said Schneider, referring to the retired numbers. "It wasn't like he had three good years and four bad years, he had seven or eight really good years there. Obviously, Kirk McLean's in the mix, but I think Roberto's probably the best goaltender that's ever played there. In my mind, if not him, then who?"
It seems obvious that Luongo's number 1 should be retired and taken out of circulation by the Canucks. Just look at Casey DeSmith, who has worn the number 1 throughout his career. When he came to Vancouver, he immediately changed his number, knowing that he simply couldn't take Luongo's number. It should be retired.
"I understand the debate of, 'Well, maybe it wasn't quite a long enough run here to consider him a retired number,' but I would, if it was up to me," concluded Schneider.