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New York Islanders: Roberto Luongo What Could Have Been

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders and Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers shake hands following the Islanders 2-1 victory over the Panthers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 24, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders won the game 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders and Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers shake hands following the Islanders 2-1 victory over the Panthers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Barclays Center on April 24, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders won the game 2-1 to win the series four games to two. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Yesterday, Roberto Luongo called at a career in the most perfect way. It left fans of the New York Islanders playing the “what if” game.

Mike Milbury completely derailed the New York Islanders. It’s almost impossible for someone to mess up as much as he did when he was running the show for the Islanders from 1995 to 2006.

Milbury drafted and traded away two locks for the NHL hall of fame in Roberto Luongo and Zdeno Chara. Yes, he didn’t know that they would be Hall of Famers at the time but the way that he gave up on players was mind-numbing.

Let’s break down the Roberto Luongo situation, since he just called it a career. In 1997 the Islanders took Luongo fourth overall. It’s rare that we see a goalie go that high in the draft so clearly he’s the goalie of the future no?

Well, just three years later the Islanders took Rick DiPietro with the first overall pick and then proceeded to trade away Roberto Luongo after just 24 games at the NHL level. On the podcast, we talk about allocating of prospects, cap space, and draft picks almost all the time and this might be the best example of what not to do.

If you just spent a top five pick on a goalie three years ago spending the first overall pick on another goalie makes zero sense. DiPietro went on to have an injury-riddled career while Luongo went on to put up a career save percentage of .919 and a goals against average of 2.52 in over 1,000 career games.

The Islanders have struggled to find a franchise goalie for a very long time, if they held on to Luongo it’s hard not to assume that things would be different. Maybe they don’t win a Stanley Cup but their chances of going 23 years without a playoff series win seem very small with Luongo in net.

Congrats on an amazing career, Roberto Luongo. We all wish that it could’ve been in blue and orange.

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