Monday, February 25, 2013
Theodore the odd man out in Florida?
By Luke Lapinski
The Florida Panthers organization is stocked with some of the very best prospects in all of hockey. In fact, the Hockey News recently ranked them No. 4 among all NHL franchises in that department. And, if they continue to struggle in this shortened season, we may not be all that far from seeing many of the potential rising stars in the system get some ice time with the big club.
One player that's already getting an opportunity is Jacob Markstrom. The 23-year old netminder has long been considered one of the top prospects at his position, and has now started the last two games for Florida. And, while he has allowed six goals over those two contests, it's worth noting that he faced two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference -- Pittsburgh and Boston -- and still made 71 saves. He's clearly the Panthers' future between the pipes and, if he can hang around now, his presence may force the team to swing a deal soon. If Markstrom's up, Kevin Dineen is going to want to get him playing time. And that means either Jose Theodore or Scott Clemmensen would be expendable.
It's possible Florida could go with Theodore as the No. 1 and Markstrom as the backup for as long as the playoffs are still a possibility. Or Dineen may just ride the hot hand. But, as Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel suggests, there's also the possibility that they hang on to Clemmensen -- who is signed through next season -- and trade Theodore instead, as his contract expires this summer anyway. With plenty of contenders out there who wouldn't mind adding a solid veteran netminder to use in a backup role, there'd likely be a market for the former Hart Trophy winner.