It had been hoped that Tomas Vokoun, the Florida Panthers netminder over the last five seasons would have been resigned before he hit the open market on Friday. The Panther’s front office put one last deal on the table and it was sadly declined. The Panthers felt that if Vokoun and his agent were going to test the open market, they needed to protect themselves and do it fast. They did, signing Jose (pronounced Joe-Zay) Theodore to a two year, $3 million dollar deal. A very respectable contract for a player who I think still has a couple more good years left.
Theodore was a back up in Minnesota last season, winning 15 games for a non playoff team in a backup role. He won the last game of the season for Minnesota as they beat the Dallas Stars, allowing the Chicago Blackhawks to get into the playoffs. Jose holds a special place in my heart for just that. The knock on Theodore is either inconsistency, or breakdowns at the most inopportune moments. He’s had some success recently however winning 62 games over two regular seasons with the Washington Capitals, but either having lost confidence in himself, or his coach having lost confidence in him during the playoffs, earned him a seat on the bench. Remember folks, the Capitals defence is not that good, and has yet to be built for a playoff run. The Caps were built as an offensive jauggernaut and you and I both know that in the playoffs, it’s all about defence, from the forwards to the acutal six defenceman on your team. Playing a run and gun style of play in the post season will get you early tee time each time you try it. In one of those years Jose was 30-7-7. You can’t tell me he’s no good.
One of Theodore’s most successful season came while he was in Montreal back in 2001-2002 when he was the league’s MVP. He appeared in 67 games that year winning 30 with a 2.11 GAA and seven shutouts. He was the toast of the city! But shortly thereafter he struggled, and was eventually traded to Colorado for David Aebischer. After two plus seasons in Colorado he hit the free agent market and was signed to a two year deal by the Capitals, and then last season to a one year deal with Minnesota.
Now many people are very concerned about the workload for Jose. We all know how many shots Vokoun had to face and how dependent we were on him. While his era is apparently over, the thing that’s also over is that we don’t have to win games 2-1 or 3-2 anymore. We have some very balanced scoring now with the players that we’ve acquired, and a completely revamped defence. Things are going to be different around these parts, and before you start brain cramping about this signing, let’s see how it goes first. Jose has won 260 games in his NHL career. He’s no slouch.How many games have you won? Oh and I can hear Mr. Knowsnothing now over in section 117 complaining already. Hopefully you and I don’t run into each other….. you’ll get an earful again. Theodore has playoff experience and can steal a game or two. The Panthers had to make a decision and I fully believe that right now if Vokoun wasn’t going to be signed, that this was the right move. Theodore was a backup last season, so maybe with a lighter workload he’ll be rejuvenated and surprise all the naysayers. Give him a chance. Think back to how your eyes may have rolled into the back of your head when we signed Ed Belfour a few years ago. That worked out pretty damn good didn’t it. Spending more money on offence was the right move here. With a coach who is going to implement a puck control and up tempo style game, there will be less pressure on the goaltender.
Every goalie gives up soft goals. It’s part of the game. That problem is magnified when you lack scoring. In the players acquired yesterday, three of them have the ability to hit at least 20 this season. Versteeg, Upshall and Flash can all hit 25 or more with the proper ice time. Can you imagine 90 goals from that trio? It’s not impossible and of the three I’m most familiar with Versteeg. You’ll like him. But back to Theodore as I close this out. It’s says alot about Tallon and the Panthers organization to go this route with Theodore. He’s not Tomas Vokoun, and neither are you or I. This isn’t about replacing Vokoun as much as it is about making a business decision, and going after offence.
Tomas Vokoun should be pretty pissed off at his agent and himself. He may end up in Siberia now after this transaction. It’s too bad really cause I like Vokoun.
Weiss Vokoun has been my favourite Panther over past few seasons, and I wanted him to be here for the rebuild, and be part of the resurrection. But there comes a time when we must turn the page, start a new chapter, and begin a era.
Welcome to Sunrise Jose. We’re glad to have you.
Please visit our NHL main page: Too Many Men On The Site.
Follow the Rat Pack onTwitter: me @TheRatTrick David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht @joshluecht, Adam Reid @AdamReid, and Patrick McLaughlin @patrckmclaughln. Also, please join our Facebook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and make some comments.
Want The Rat Trick on your smartphone? Download the app and get the best in Florida Panthers coverage.