The first month of the 2013 season has been filled with nothing but disappointment for the Florida Panthers. With a mostly unchanged roster from last season, there were decent expectations for the team heading into the season.
The Panthers made the playoffs in 2012, but even with the additions of Jonathan Huberdeau and Alex Kovalev, the team looks light years away from making a repeat trip this season. Goaltenders Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen have struggled, making it hard for the Panthers to win even when they score four or five goals. The Panthers rank dead last in the league in goals against, and tied an NHL record on Saturday with their third consecutive overtime loss.
It’s time for the Panthers to look at making a change in net. Theodore isn’t getting the job done, and the team appears to have lost faith in Clemmensen. The time has come to make a trade, sign a free agent goaltender or take a look at their AHL team for help.
With big-name free agents out there like Ty Conklin and Dwayne Roloson, could it get any worse than the almost four goals per game the Panthers are allowing right now? Former 31st-overall pick Jacob Markstrom has a 15-15-2 record in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage, and is in the final year of his entry level contract. He has only appeared in eight games for the Panthers over the past two seasons.
Once considered the future of the franchise in net, the Panthers don’t seem to want to give Markstrom a good look unless Theodore or Clemmensen gets hurt. Are they really ready to give another team a chance to grab him without ever giving him a true NHL shot?
The Panthers sit third in the Southeast Division with a 4-6-4 record and 12 points, but are 13th of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference. This season is short and compact, and if the Panthers want a shot at the playoffs, they can’t keep this up for long.
A change in net might be what this team needs to get on a roll.