Florida Panthers May Start 2016-17 Without Luongo

The Florida Panthers’ signing of James Reimer was a bit of a head-scratcher considering they recently traded for Reto Berra and still have Roberto Luongo under contract through 2022. However, a recent report out of Florida has shed some light on why the Panthers may have felt the need to add to their goaltending group. They might be forced to start the season with only Reimer and Berra in the crease.

While there was little news surrounding his ailment, it was announced at the beginning of June that Luongo had offseason hip surgery. According to the initial report, the surgery was minor and would not impact his status for the start of 2016-17. However, considering today’s events, that may not be the case.

The Panthers signed Reimer to a five-year, $17 million contract this afternoon as the NHL’s free agency window opened. Considering the term, it’s likely much more than an insurance policy for the start of next season but the possible loss of Luongo almost certainly forced their hand a bit. With Reimer, they have a projected NHL starter to fall back on.

Luongo, 37, has been very consistent for Florida in recent seasons. He played 62 games in 2015-16 and boasted a goals-against average of 2.35 to accompany a save-percentage of .922. Both marks nearly mirrored his numbers from the season prior as well.

Reimer, 28, has 215 games on his NHL resume. He has a record of 91-78-23, with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. While he doesn’t boast the most impressive numbers, it’s important to consider that most of his career was spent back stopping a struggling Toronto Maple Leafs team. He played eight games in San Jose last season following a trade just prior to the NHL’s trade deadline. He recorded a .938 save-percentage and 1.62 goals-against average in that span.