As each day passes fans of the Florida Panthers become every bit more eager to see their new look team take to the ice. For the first time in a very long time, the 2011-2012 Panthers look like a team that have something to prove, something that will hopefully get them over the hump and back into the playoffs.
A big question mark despite all the new signings and players acquired is how this team will perform in net without out beloved goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Probably one of the only mistakes which GM Dale Talon had this off-season was not striking a deal with the former Florida Panthers net minder. Last season, with a very dismal Panthers club, Vokoun posted a 22-28-5 record with a 2.55 GAA and .922 Save Percentage, but our lacklustre defence meant that Vokoun faced 1753 shots.
In 4-seasons with the Panthers since being traded by the Nashville Predators for 2-second round picks and a first round pick, Vokoun has posted a 91-108-30 record with a 2.45 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Despite his record, once again he had a great save percentage and goals-against average, meaning his defence give up 7903 shots in just 4-seasons, but it also means that while he managed to keep games close for his team, his offence failed in getting the job done up front.
This season, our goaltending is moving in a different season as GM Dale Tallon signed goaltender Jose Theodore to a 2 year 1.5 million dollars a year contract to hold down the fort. Theodore is most known for his time spent in Montreal with the Canadiens. He also spent time with Colorado and Washington before moving to Minnesota last season where he posted a 15-11-3 record with a .916 Save Percentage and 2.71 GAA, great stats considering his slow start. In 580 NHL games, the 34-year old, Laval Quebec native has a record of 260-232-25 with a lifetime save percentage of .909 and a GAA of 2.69.
Arguably, Theodore’s best season was in 2009-10 as a part of the Washington Capitals where he posted a record of 30-7-7, but unlike Vokoun who was peppered with shots that season (2081) , Theodore only faced 1352. That is almost 700 fewer shots allowed by the Capitals defence, so if Theodore intends to perform well, he better be prepared to make a lot of saves.
In the backup position we once again have Scott Clemmensen. Last season Clemmensen made appearances behind Vokoun posting a record of 8-11-7, not terrible but more less something expected from him in a backup role. Clemmensen has always played a backup role, but has proven before that he can take over if need be. During the 2008-09 season when New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur fell injury Clemmensen played 40 games posting a record of 25-13-1 with the Devils. GM Dale Tallon just hopes that Clemmensen can plug the hole once again when he is called upon.
Last but not least we must look to our third string goaltender, Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom appeared in 1 game with the club last season, a game where he let in 2-goals and suffered a loss. Though it was one game, it was just what management had wanted, so he could more-less get his feet wet in the NHL. This season he will be playing once again in the minors, but its more likely he will get more of an opportunity to get appearances in the big leagues so he can make the leap for the 2012-2013 season.
Last year the 21-year old, Swede appeared in 37-games for the AHL’s struggling Rochester Americans team. Markstrom posted a record of 16-20-1 while maintaining a save percentage of .907 with a 2.98 GAA. Hopefully, Markstrom will have a bounce back season, as the young Swede is probably our highest touted prospect, and a player management is hoping can step up very soon and tear up the NHL.