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Report: Florida remains “frontrunner” for Roberto Luongo

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 11: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks dives for the loose puck during the first period in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on April 11, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Rich Lam

While Vancouver Canucks starter-to-be Cory Schneider says he’ll take his time to sign a new deal, the team probably wants to get that whole Roberto Luongo mess cleaned up sooner rather than later. Darren Dreger provides the latest update on that front: the Florida Panthers remain the “frontrunner.” The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, appear to be lagging behind.

Bob McKenzie paraphrases Dreger as such:

Insider Trading hilites: @DarrenDreger says dialogue continues between FLA and VAN on Luongo. Not so much TOR and VAN. FLA frontrunner.

Plenty has been made of the Panthers’ interest in bringing back Luongo; it’s even clear that the team’s ownership seems OK with his lengthy, risky contract. It appears that Luongo wants to go back to Florida, too, as a report surfaced that he wouldn’t accept a swap to two other interested parties in Toronto and the Chicago Blackhawks.

From a short-term perspective, Luongo’s cat reunion makes a lot of sense. With all due respect to Jose Theodore, they don’t have a clear No. 1 heading into next season and will probably need to beef up their payroll. It also allows the Panthers to give budding prospect Jacob Markstrom more time to develop, although some might believe that his time has come.

That’s really the biggest problem with dealing for Luongo beyond the obvious “contract that runs through 2021-22" issue, though. Perhaps that’s a problem the Panthers are willing to put off, then.