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Panthers will have odd goalie out after Thomas signing

Sep 26, 2013, 7:25 PM EDT

clemmensenmarkstromgetty Getty Images

Signing Tim Thomas gives the Florida Panthers something of a three-headed monster in net, although one wouldn’t confuse this with the St. Louis Blues’ situation, which seems like an embarrassment of riches by comparison.

Regardless, the Panthers organization will need to decide if they’d rather pair Scott Clemmensen or Jacob Markstrom with their new 39-year-old goalie. (Thomas is likely to be the starter, barring a meltdown.)

The answer, for at least a little while, could be “a little of both.”

Markstrom, 23, can be sent to the minors without being placed on waivers in 2013-14 thanks to the first year of his deal being two-way.

Clemmensen, 36, might still be rehabbing from surgery by the time the regular season starts, so that could give Markstrom extra time to show that he deserves to stay at the NHL level full-time.

Clemmensen is on a one-way deal so another team can claim him if he’s sent long-term. Considering his $1.3 million salary (and $1.2 million cap hit), the Panthers might not be so sad about someone scooping him up, really.

Neither of the two goalies put up dynamite numbers in 2013, although it’s obvious the Panthers expect big things from Markstrom … eventually.

Panthers GM Dale Tallon discussed both netminders following the Thomas announcement. He told the Miami Herald’s George Richards that:

1. He hasn’t “thought about” sending Clemmensen down to the AHL. It’s worth noting that they could do so for a short time on a rehab stint, anyway.

2. Tallon told Richards that he knows Markstrom is talented but still believes the Thomas addition is “good for the organization.”

One could point to warts for all three of these goalies, yet the Panthers were wise to give themselves more options for this coming season. It will probably force Tallon & Co. to make a tough choice or two, though.

  1. arrooo - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    Islanders need a goalie

  2. AppealToReason - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    I could see a couple teams interested in Clemmensen. Vancouver, NYI, Dallas, Boston would probably all at least have a decent conversation about bringing him in.

  3. alswingman - Sep 27, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Can’t see them giving up on Markstrom or sending him down. Would he really benefit at this point in the minors? He seems the logical choice to stick. He would benefit from backing up a proven vet like Thomas. Clemmensen is expendable mediocrity.

  4. greenmtnboy31 - Sep 27, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    Smart, no-brainer move by Florida. They now have a top ten keeper and more likely a top five guy between the pipes, which is more than they’ve had in a very long time. Someone is going to want Clemmensen at some point, so they can rehab him, get him looking good while Markstrom hones his skills at AHL and make themselves much more competitive in the process.

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