Scott Clemmensen has been better than good so far this year for the Panthers. With a 3-0-1 record, .913 save percentage, and a 2.23 goals against average, Clemmensen filled quite nicely into his role as a backup to Jose Theodore at the goalie position.
However, the Panthers are deep between the pipes with budding star Jacob Markstrom buried in San Antonio, waiting to take the reins for the team. In the meantime, Theodore has been incredibly clutch and focused, and his performances so far this year have sometimes single-handedly won the Panthers games. Conventional wisdom says that GM Dale Tallon will try to trade Clemmensen, since Tallon is known for making trades mid-year and Scott is in a contract year. All signs point to that maybe Clemmensen shouldn’t get too much more comfortable in sunny South Florida.
Of course, it takes two to tango, so I listed a few of the teams that might give the Panthers’ brass a call to get a trade going. It is becoming apparent very early in the season that some teams have goalie issues, and Clemmensen could be a remedy.
Tampa Bay Lightning – The Lightning have had the least consistent goaltending all season long. Dwayne Roloson has been porous, and he looks every bit of 42 years old. Mathieu Garon has done a decent job to hold down the fort while Roloson has struggled, but he has only done moderately better than his counterpart. Tallon would probably hesitate to send Clemmensen to St. Petersburg, with us being division rivals and all, so maybe he might force Tampa Bay to sweeten the deal before shipping him.
Dallas Stars – The Stars got off to a tremendous start this year, cooled off a little bit, then got hot again, then lost their star goalie, Kari Lehtonen. Andrew Raycroft has not been great in the least bit replacing him, and he sits on a 2-7-0 record for the season. If the Stars want to fight for the playoffs in the ultra-competitive West, they’re going to need to have good goaltending until Lehtonen returns.
Columbus Blue Jackets – This is one scenario I hope never happens. If poor Clemmer gets traded into a mess like Columbus, I would feel nothing but pity for the man. The entire franchise is dysfunctional right now, and the goalie situation might be the worst of its problems. All of a sudden, former Calder Memorial Trophy winner Steve Mason is the worst goalie in the league. Clemmensen would provide consistency in the lineup, but a trade to Columbus would almost be like a punishment.
New Jersey Devils - The Devils are having a bit of a crisis of identity right now. Their goalie of the past two decades, Martin Brodeur, has appeared to have lost it. It’s a delicate situation to try to handle when a first ballot hall-of-gamer like Brodeur is nearing the end. Maybe a trade to his former coach and organization would be good for Clemmensen: he has subbed in superbly for Brodeur before.
Maybe these teams can get their goalie help from other areas, like Johnathan Bernier in LA or Cory Schneider in Vancouver, but Clemmensen could be a more affordable option. I really like Clemmer, but it looks like he could be dangled as trade bait come the deadline.
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