Luongo activated off IR, not expected to return until after Finland games

Eliot J. Schechter / National Hockey League / Getty

Roberto Luongo is back on the Florida Panthers' active roster, but he's still unlikely to suit up until the team returns from Europe.

The Panthers activated Luongo off injured reserve Thursday. Head coach Bob Boughner reiterated his sentiments from Wednesday that the ideal plan is for the club's No. 1 netminder to play next week rather than in one of the two Finland contests Thursday and Friday.

"Officially, if (Luongo) is ready, he could play, but we're going to make that decision (Friday)," Boughner told's Brian Compton on Thursday. "I could see him more playing when we get back home, (but) he's close. He's real close."

The Panthers' bench boss further explained that he wants to play it safe with the 39-year-old goaltender, and that Thursday's roster move is at least partially motivated by the need for depth in the crease.

"We want to make sure (Luongo) is 110 percent before he gets back in there and make sure that we're doing the right thing by him," Boughner said. "We need three goalies in case something (happens)."

Luongo was injured in Florida's season opener when teammate Frank Vatrano fell on his knee. He hasn't played since.