Monday: George Richards of The Athletic reports that Luongo will be out two to four weeks with an MCL strain.
Sunday: After Florida Panthers’ star goalie Roberto Luongo was injured and helped off the ice last night and the team quickly recalled Michael Hutchinson from the AHL this morning, this outcome is far from a surprise. The Panthers have placed Luongo on the injured reserve, according to CapFriendly. Seeing as the injury was suffered last night, the IR placement won’t be retroactive and Luongo won’t be eligible to return to action for a week, if he is even ready at that point.
Luongo’s injury, although not yet confirmed by the team, appeared to be a lower-body injury caused by his own teammate, Frank Vatrano, falling on his leg during a scrum in front of the net. Luongo missed 26 games with a lower-body injury last season and 19 games in 2016-17 as well. The injury prone keeper, also 39 years old, has taken a fair amount of time to recover from injuries in the past and this time may not be any different.
Fortunately, the Panthers do have James Reimer ready to take over. The split-time starter made 43 and 44 starts in each of the past two seasons respectively and, while he had struggles last year, put up strong numbers in 2016-17. Hutchinson is also as solid as No. 3 goalies come, with 102 games of NHL experience and outstanding numbers in the AHL. Hutchison was signed this off-season specifically to safeguard against Luongo’s frequent injuries. Florida also has incentive to give young Samuel Montembeault some action at some point this season, perhaps even while Luongo is out. The injury is obviously a tough way for the Panthers to start the season, but they have the pieces to pick up the slack.