With Reimer signed, Panthers won’t rush Luongo back after hip surgery

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Signing James Reimer as an unrestricted free agent (five years, $17 million) seems prudent for the long-term future of the Florida Panthers. The move could also pay off in the short-term, as well.

It was revealed during Friday’s free agent frenzy that 37-year-old goalie Roberto Luongo underwent off-season hip surgery and, according to Panthers GM Tom Rowe, may not be able to start the 2016-17 season.

That means Reimer could begin the season as the starter in Florida, with recently acquired Reto Berra as the back-up — at least until Luongo gets back to full health.

“We’ll probably end up starting the season with Berra and obviously, Reimer,” said Rowe, as per the Sun Sentinel.

“We’ll see where Luongo is. Everything will be determined by how Lou gets through the offseason with his rehabilitation. Right now, it’s going really well. We’ll take it one day at a time. We don’t want to rush him back. We want him to come back on his schedule and just make sure we’re doing everything the right way.”

Luongo, who hit 37 years of age in April, appeared in 62 games in the regular season — he started 60 of them — and posted impressive numbers, including a 2.35 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, which is three points higher than his career average.

Related: ‘Exhausted’ Luongo: ‘I need the rest’ after three games in four nights