Jonathan Quick and Roberto Luongo return from injuries

Bryan Mcwilliam
Vancouver Canucks v Los Angeles Kings

Both Jonathan Quick and Roberto Luongo returned to their respective team’s line-ups tonight as the Los Angeles Kings hosted the Vancouver Canucks.

The returns of both goaltenders helps solidify NHL line-ups that are battling for playoff spots in the Western Conference and also gives strength to each netminder’s Olympic hockey teams that will compete for gold beginning in February.

Quick was announced to the U.S. Olympic squad earlier this week and unless something bizarre occurs, Luongo will make the Canadian squad.

Both goaltenders have the chance to start for their homelands at the Olympic Games, although Quick will have stiff competition for the starting spot in Buffalo’s Ryan Miller and Luongo the same with Montreal’s Carey Price.

With both goalies returning from injury on the same night and both being in similar situations for the upcoming Olympics, a question dawned upon this writer.

If you could select one of the two to build a franchise around, who would it be?

Let’s take factors like age and salary out of the equation and pit the two goalies against one another at the prime of their careers. Who would you take?

You can argue that Luongo was at his best at some point from 2006-11, while Quick’s best years – so far – were between 2009-12. Knowing this information, as well as knowledge from their careers in the minors, does one stand out above the other? Is there really an obvious choice?

Both have played on pretty good teams during their best years and have honours to brag about such as Quick’s Conn Smythe Trophy from 2011-12 and Luongo’s William M. Jennings Trophy from 2010-11. Both have already been Olympians in their careers and have played in NHL All-Star Games.

The differences between the two include Luongo having more success on the international level, winning a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, as well as medals varying from gold to bronze at the World Championships, World Cup, and World Junior Championships, while Quick has a silver under his belt with the U.S. in 2010. However, the L.A. netminder led his team to a Stanley Cup in 2011-12. Does raising the most cherished prize in professional hockey outweigh all of Luongo’s success at the international level? In some people’s opinions, it does.

Oh and if it matters, Quick’s Kings defeated Luongo’s Canucks 3-1 tonight in the showdown of the returning netminders.

Back to the question at hand, which goaltender would you build your franchise around?