It was the logical move. Veteran goalie Scott Clemmensen was back from knee surgery and the Panthers needed to find the roster space to activate him behind Jose Theodore. So talented rookie Jacob Markstrom had to go, sent to the Florida Panthers' AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Logical, but not easy.
"It's never easy," said Panthers GM Dale Tallon during a Monday evening phone conversation. "I think we were thinking we're going to be conservative and make sure what's best for him long-term. If he's going to be a No. 1, he's got to play No. 1 minutes."
That wasn't going to happen right now in the NHL, but during Markstrom's five-game NHL trial period, something happened. The Panthers' timeline for him sped up considerably. Last year the 6-foot-3 Swede battled inconsistencies and injuries and Tallon wasn't exactly sure what he had in the young goalie. Now he knows. Markstrom went 2-2-1, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. Chances are that the next time he returns to the NHL, it will be for good.
Despite all the big spending Tallon did during the summer, he kept his goalie costs low, and that could pay off this season. Jose Theodore was signed to a two-year deal worth $1.5 million per season, a deal that includes a no-trade clause according to CapGeek.com. Clemmensen is playing in the final year of a contract worth $1.2 million and a trade may ultimately be the solution in Florida. Tallon has a talented goalie ready to seize the starting job and hasn't ruled out the possibility of dealing a goalie to create an opening for him.
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