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Luongo decision on future OK with Panthers, whatever it is

Goalie could return, retire or be placed on injured list

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Roberto Luongo is expected to tell the Florida Panthers of his plans for next season in the next few days, TSN reported Wednesday.

Luongo, who was limited to 43 games this season because of injuries, could try to play another season, retire, or be placed on long-term injured reserve, the report said.

"It's totally up to Roberto," Florida general manager Dale Tallon said Thursday. "We've talked a couple of times. The decision is solely up to him. Whatever is best for him and his family. We're going to go along with whatever he decides he wants to do."

Tallon, in Vancouver for the 2019 NHL Draft on Friday and Saturday, said he expected Luongo to tell the Panthers of his plans before NHL free agency begins July 1.

"It's a decision that's probably going to come shortly," Tallon said. "There's no rush for the draft, it's not going to make any impact. But moving forward before free agency, I would think we'd have an answer before then."

Video: Speculating on future of Roberto Luongo with Panthers

Luongo has three seasons left on a 12-year contract he signed with the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 2, 2009. He was traded to the Panthers on March 4, 2014. Florida and Vancouver would face some NHL salary cap recapture charges if Luongo does retire, TSN reported.

"Obviously I still love to play the game, but there's other factors involved," Luongo said April 5 before the season finale, one day after he turned 40. "First and foremost, I just want to sit down with management and just see where everybody's head is at and where the team is headed next year, what they plan on doing in the offseason, all that kind of stuff. … I haven't really spoken to management all year, especially the second half of the year, so I don't know where their head is at. Once I find out where they're at, then I can go back home and sit down with my family and decide what's best for me."

He was 18-16-5 with a 3.12 goals-against average and .899 save percentage this season. He was unavailable for 13 games with injuries to his knee and hip.

Luongo has played 1,044 games with the New York Islanders, Vancouver and Florida, second to Martin Brodeur (1,266) in NHL history. Luongo's 489 wins are third behind Brodeur (691) and Patrick Roy (551).

Luongo said in April he could accept a backup role if he returns. During the 2012-13 season with the Canucks, he started 18 games; Cory Schneider started the other 30.

James Reimer started 29 games for Florida this season; rookie Sam Montembeault started 10.

"I know what it takes," Luongo said of being a backup. "I realize that I'm 40 years old and taking on a big workload is a bit tougher at this age just because the recovery is a bit slower. I'm well aware if I do come back that'll probably be the likely scenario for me, and I'm OK with that."

Tweet from @frank_seravalli: #FlaPanthers are expecting to hear in the next couple days what Roberto Luongo���s intentions are for next season. Luongo has three options: play, retire, or start season on LTIR with a lingering hip issue.

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