Today’s Sunday Conversation asks, “Who has the most to prove on the Florida Panthers this season? Starting with young and promising defenceman Erik Gudbranson all the way up to head coach Kevin Dineen, I want to know your choice of the one player or coach on the Florida Panthers who you feel has the most to prove this coming season.
While in training camp all eyes will be on the aforementioned Gudbranson, I don’t think the “pressure” is on him as much as it is on one other particular player. Goaltender Jose Theodore will have to prove skeptics wrong. Jose will be 35 by the time this season begins, and while I predicted he’d be the goaltender the Panthers would go after should Tomas Vokoun not stay, Jose will have the opportunity to backstop the Panthers into the post season for the first time since
the turn of the century 2000. The announcement of his signing was met with mixed reviews not only by the Florida fan base, but the hockey world in general.
Too old…gives up soft goals…..can’t handle the load. On and on it went. Theodore is one season removed from a 30 win season, and in the two years in Washington won over 60 games. A quick hook by Bruce the f-bomber Boudreau in the playoffs have misguided people thinking Jose can’t carry the load. In a backup role in Minnesota last season he ended up winning 15 games after a slow start. One thing that Theodore has going for him is the potential for a solid defence in front of him. Did I just type that? That alone can be 5-7 wins for him right there.
Meanwhile, I’m expecting Jose to start about 55 games. I’m expecting him to win about 28-30 of them. If he does that, he’ll have proved all the naysayers wrong. He doesn’t have to be Tomas Vokoun. He doesn’t even have to be Roberto Luongo (thank god for that). He just has to be Jose Theodore. In my book Jose has a lot of hockey left in him, and he’s going to show it to South Florida and the NHL. So while he has the most to prove in my mind, I believe that he’ll do and say all the right things, and make this one of the betters free agent signings of the summer.
So, who’s your choice?
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