According to NHL.com, Florida Panthers backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen will be out for three weeks after undergoing what Panthers general manager, Dale Tallon, described as a “minor knee procedure”.
The injury weakens the Panthers goaltending depth which was considered to be thin even with a healthy Clemmensen. The 36 year old net minder appeared in 19 games for the Panthers last season compiling a 3-7-2 record, a 3.67 goals against average and a .874 save percentage.
With the 23 year old, goalie of the future, Jacob Markstrom expected to win the starting job out of camp this season, it is widely expected that Clemmensen will fill the backup role. If his recovery time is indeed three weeks, Clemmer should be back in time for the start of the season but until he returns, the backup duties will be performed by, 20 year old, Michael Houser.
The prospect of Clemmensen missing some time is a troubling development. The Panthers took a chance this offseason by not resigning Jose Theodore and ostensibly handing over the starting job to Markstrom. While Clemmensen performed poorly last season, he is expected to be a safety net this season should the young Markstrom struggle.
The Panthers lack of goaltending depth will be exposed if Clemmensen’s injury keeps him out through the start of the regular season. The heir apparent to the backup role, Michael Houser was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Panthers in July of 2012. During his rookie season with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, Houser had a 2.55 goals against average and a .917 save percentage to go along with a record of 17-10-2. The jump from the ECHL to the NHL is quite the transition so while Houser thrived with the Cyclones, things may get a bit dicey if he is pushed into playing time with the Panthers.
Hopefully Clemmensen will make a quick recovery and be ready for the start of the season. If not, expect the Panthers to ride Markstrom heavily early in the season while they await the return of their veteran backup net minder.