The Florida Panthers recently shipped goaltender Jacob Markstrom back to the AHL after making a couple of starts for the Cats, in an attempt to give the team a spark. That spark didn’t come, but Markstrom may have left his mark with the club in that pair of starts, even if the numbers weren’t impressive.
Markstrom was a second round pick of the Panthers back in 2008, but has been unable to crack the lineup regularly. But the Panthers also haven’t given him the chance to actually prove himself over a decent sized stretch. His only appearances have been in extremely short stints, like this recent one.
In each of the two starts that Markstrom made, he gave up three goals. Six goals on 71 total shots faced isn’t awful. Especially when the team in front of him didn’t offer up much help. But he was unable to steal either of those games in the way that the coaching staff was hoping he would, and he was shipped back to San Antonio.
Regardless of his inability to stick, Markstrom flashed some signs of brilliance, particularly against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He made 37 of a possible 40 stops in that one. He’s still just 23, which means we haven’t seen everything he has to offer quite yet. Goaltenders take a longer time to develop.
The Panthers may have something in Markstrom, but they’re content in waiting it out to see for sure. It will be interesting to see if he gets another shot soon. Because what Markstrom does between the pipes is going to determine whether or not the Cats make a run at Roberto Luongo.
If they feel that they have a franchise goaltender in Markstrom, they can avoid taking on the massive contract that Bobby Lu brings to the table. But in order to determine that, they’re going to have to give him a real shot at it. If they continue to struggle, will that chance come this year? Stay tuned.