Clemmensen Might Have To Leave Town

Clemmensen's NHL future might be up in the air. Photo: UPI/Mark Goldman

I’m sure many Panther fans knew this day would be coming after Scott Clemmensen went down with a knee injury during the preseason.  Sometime during the regular season, the veteran goalie would be back and ready to play, only to find young Jacob Markstrom sitting in Clemmensen’s usual backup goalie spot.  All of a sudden, the Panthers would have three NHL-quality goalies log-jamming the position.

Well, that day is rapidly approaching.  According to Miami Herald writer George Richards, Clemmer will be ready to play again “in a week or two,” and that he will most likely “get rehab in San Antonio or get traded.”  So apparently, Dale Tallon has made his goalie decision, and Scott Clemmensen is the odd man out on the NHL level.

This news might not be all that surprising considering how well Jacob Markstrom has played.  With a 2.11 GAA and a .945 save percentage, Markstrom has certainly done enough to lock down an NHL spot.  In fact, he skipped the stage of proving himself and went straight after Jose Theodore’s starting job.  Although Jose appears to be the starter on coach Kevin Dineen’s squad, there is certainly no room for another goalie.

Of course, as it is with all trade speculation, we’re all wondering which team would trade for Clemmensen.  Fortunately for Tallon, there is a market for a solid backup right now.  Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, and Toronto are all struggling at the goalie position, and are also looking for somebody to push for a starting job.  At the very least, Clemmensen could do that.  He might also be a more attractive option for a team that isn’t willing to trade for Johnathan Bernier or Braden Holtby, expensive prospects from the Kings and Capitals, respectively.

As for any sort of return, don’t expect much for the Panthers.  Clemmensen really doesn’t have any sort of big time goalie potential, and when you factor in his age and knee problem, he isn’t worth more than a fifth-round pick.  I’d be shocked if Tallon can flip him for anything higher than that.

And, assuming Tallon isn’t thrilled by the offers, don’t be surprised if Clemmensen just gets sent down to San Antonio.  Tallon might look to trade him later in the year closer to the trade deadline, when a more desperate team might cave and offer more to pry Clemmer away.  For now we’ll see, but I wouldn’t count on seeing Clemmensen wearing a Panthers uniform this year.

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