This is why the Florida Panthers signed James Reimer to the deal that they did in 2016. The five-year, $17M contract handed to the goaltender meant that the team had adequate coverage should an aging Roberto Luongo go down with injury.
And here we are. Again.
Panthers head coach Bob Boughner announced on Monday that the 39-year-old Luongo will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his knee suffered during Saturday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning when teammate Frank Vatrano fell on his leg.
The team has prepared for situations like this by signing Reimer two years ago and adding Michael Hutchinson, who made 87 starts for the Winnipeg Jets from 2014-2018 before signing a one-year deal with the Panthers over the summer. Injuries have hit Luongo in each of the past two seasons, causing him to making only 72 starts between 2016-17 and 2017-18.
“In his absence, it’s just win some hockey games. That’s what we train for all summer to do,” Riemer said on Monday.
Reimer has made 88 appearances since joining the Panthers, posting a .922 even strength save percentage and helping them to 40 wins. Luongo has the exact ESSV% over the same span in 76 appearances.