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Panthers expect Roberto Luongo to start season

Veteran goalie recovering from hip surgery, 'nothing that was major' @NHL

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo is likely to be ready to start the season after offseason hip surgery, general manager Tom Rowe said Thursday.

Luongo had surgery after April 24, when the Panthers were eliminated from the Eastern Conference First Round by the New York Islanders. The 37-year-old is expected to resume skating within a couple of weeks, Rowe said, according to the Sun Sentinel.

"[He] had a little wear and tear in one of his hip areas. They just went in and cleaned it up. Definitely nothing that was major," Rowe said. "… Whether he'll be full force ahead for training camp, I'm not sure yet, but right now it looks pretty good."

The Panthers on July 1 signed free agent goalie James Reimer to a five-year contract reportedly worth $17 million, after acquiring goalie Reto Berra on June 23 in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche for forward Rocco Grimaldi.

Reports after Reimer signed suggested Luongo would not be healthy enough to start this season, with one saying he would be out until at least Nov. 1. Rowe said Thursday that having Reimer and Berra would allow the Panthers to not rush Luongo's recovery.

Al Montoya, who backed up Luongo last season, signed with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent.

Luongo was 35-19-6 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He had a 2.05 GAA and .934 save percentage in the six-game Stanley Cup Playoff loss to the Islanders.

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