Roberto Luongo Wants to Play for Panthers, Spotted Skating at Florida’s Practice Facility


Roberto Luongo Wants to Play for Panthers, Spotted Skating at Florida's Practice FacilityThe Panthers have long been considered the front-runners to land Roberto Luongo now that the Canucks are going with Cory Schneider as their No. 1 netminder.

Joining Florida would be fine by Luongo, even if he's not ready to rule anything out.

"[The Panthers] makes sense for myself, for my career and my family,'' Luongo told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "This is a preferred location for obvious reasons, but I'm not shutting the door on other possibilities.''

Luongo skated at the Florida Panthers' practice facility Tuesday morning, creating a rather awkward scene. Panthers starting goaltender Jose Theodore was reportedly starting up an informal practice with several of his teammates after Luongo finished up his own skate.

Luongo, of course, lives in the Sunshine State during his offseasons, and he established himself as one of the league's premier goaltenders while with the Panthers before getting dealt north of the border in 2006 — hence the "obvious reasons" Luongo alluded to during his interview. It's certainly interesting to see him crossing paths with Florida's current batch of netminders, though, especially given previous reports about Florida being the front-runners for his services.

If the Panthers are to eventually acquire Luongo, who has spent the last six seasons in Vancouver, it will cost them a great deal of cash. The 33-year-old has 10 years at $5.33 million per season remaining on his current deal.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon has said he's content with his current goaltending crew, which is comprised of Theodore, Scott Clemmensen and Jacob Markstrom. Luongo is a proven All-Star, however, despite his playoff failures, so he could be viewed as someone who could put the Panthers over the top after their rapid improvement.

Luongo — like every player in the NHL these days, actually — doesn't know what his future holds, but he understandably wants to remain a team's No. 1.

"Obviously, I want to start,'' Luongo told the Sun Sentinel. "You're dealt different situations in life. You've got to handle them the right way. I don't know what's going to happen this year. The only thing I could do is work hard and have a positive atittude. At the end, I'm sure everything is going to work out.''

Where exactly everything is going to "work out" remains very much a mystery.

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