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Kings Renew Bid to Acquire Luongo

Times Staff Writer

The Kings are once again pursuing Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, a league source said Tuesday.

The Kings are believed to be discussing a multi-player package, with forwards Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown and goaltender Mathieu Garon among the names being discussed. Dean Lombardi, the Kings’ general manager, declined to comment.

Luongo, considered one of the NHL’s top goaltenders, is a restricted free agent, but the Panthers have been unable to reach a multi-year agreement with him. General Manager Mike Keenan said the team would explore all options, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

The Kings attempted to land the All-Star goaltender before the trading deadline last season, but the Panthers balked at all deals. Now they may be forced to make a deal since Luongo will be an unrestricted free agent after next season. The Panthers have received calls from a handful of teams and interest is expected to increase at the NHL draft in Vancouver this weekend.

That may lead to a bidding war, orchestrated by the high-profile Keenan.

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Luongo, who made $3.2 million last season, is not looking to sign a long-term contract with the Panthers, the league source said. The 27-year-old goaltender has previously said that he would not agree to a multi-year contract unless considerable efforts were made to improve the Panthers.

“I just want to make sure we’re a playoff team for many years to come,” Luongo said when he turned down a five-year, $30-million deal in January. “I don’t want to spend another five years here just watching the playoffs on television.”

Luongo had a 2.97 goals-against average and .914 save percentage last season while seeing 2,488 shots, the most by an NHL goaltender. The Panthers finished 11th in the Eastern Conference and have not made the playoffs during Luongo’s five seasons with the team.

Frolov and Brown, both first-round picks, were expected to be top players last season but struggled to be consistent. Garon’s 31 victories last season tied him for third on the Kings’ all-time single season list, but his effectiveness decreased the last two months of the season. He finished with a 3.22 goals-against average and .894 save percentage.


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