The Florida Panthers are betting big on a group of goaltending specialists to lead their team into a newfound era of success.
Tuesday, the organization announced the implementation of its goaltending excellence department.
This department boasts former Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo as its head and will feature goalie coach Francois Allaire as a consultant.
“This new endeavor for our organization is incredibly special,” Luongo said. “I’m honored to welcome Francois, whose impact on the goaltending position stands second to none. Each member of our goaltending excellence staff has traveled a different path and possesses a unique set of experiences and knowledge. I have a tremendous deal of respect for this group and couldn’t be more excited for the future.”
The goal of the program is to provide development support at all levels of the organization, complete with a renewed focus on scouting.
“Upon joining the organization, a Panthers goaltender will experience consistent communication, guidance, and unified instruction from the goaltending excellence staff,” the team said in a statement.
Allaire and Luongo bring an undeniable pedigree to the department.
Luongo is entering his second season as special adviser to general manager Bill Zito in Florida, having spent 19 seasons in the NHL – including 11 campaigns on the Panthers. He is third in NHL history with 489 wins, behind only Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy.
With 30 years of experience as a goaltending coach, Allaire has helmed proteges like Luongo, Roy and former Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. He was the first goaltending coach for the Montreal Canadiens, serving a tenure from 1985 through 1996 before moving on to an extensive run with in Anaheim. He also served with the Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.
“I’m proud and excited to be part of this encompassing new goaltending operation,” Allaire said. “Our collection of goaltending knowledge is extraordinary, and our players will have the benefit of a collaborative, united coaching experience throughout their careers with the Panthers. I’m thrilled to work with this talented group in establishing an unparalleled product of scouting, development and teaching.”
Rob Tallas, the current Panthers goalie coach, and Leo Luongo are also in the department. Leo is Roberto’s younger brother and he’s currently the goaltending coach of the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.