Roberto Luongo on James Reimer: He’s ‘a starter in the NHL, no doubt’


James Reimer, left, and Roberto Luongo. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo isn’t threatened by his younger counterpart in the Florida crease.

James Reimer is expected to start a significant chunk of games this season, his second with the team after signing a five-year deal in July of 2016.

Luongo understands that the days of him making 60 to 70 starts a season are long gone, and he’s OK with that.

“Reimer is a starter in the NHL, no doubt about it,” Luongo told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “He looks amazing, better than even he did last year. We are a partnership.

“It doesn’t matter what the split is going to be.”

Reimer – who’s never been the undisputed No. 1 for a team in a full 82-game season – shook off a rough start with his new team last year to finish the season with a 2.53 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 43 appearances.

The Panthers missed the playoffs though in a disappointing follow-up to a franchise-best 2015-16, where Luongo led the team its first Atlantic Division title.

The 38-year-old is aiming to bounce back from a year in which a hip injury limited him to 40 appearances and a .915 save percentage, his lowest mark since 2012-13.

“I’m not going to say I am as quick as 10 years ago,” he said. “But I am smarter technically and maybe that compensates for the fact I’m 38 years old.”

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