The Florida Panthers have 10 games remaining before they are able to put an awful 2013 season behind them, and it appears veteran goaltender Jose Theodore would like to return and play at least one of those games. Sidelined since Mar. 2 with a groin injury, Theodore’s return could make things very interesting for a Panthers team with some big decisions to make on the goaltending front before next season. Jacob Markstrom has turned in some quality starts while Theodore has been out and should be securing a spot on next season’s roster, while Scott Clemmensen recently turned in a season-best performance and is the only netminder the team has signed beyond next season.
Things could get very interesting in the summer, as Theodore has expressed an interest in returning to the Panthers, and GM Dale Tallon apparently shares the same sentiment. Theodore’s 4-6-3 record this season with a 3.29 goals-against average won’t make it easy for him to find work next season. The veteran goalie has played 15 seasons, and while he might be a solid backup option for a contending team, another season of holding back Markstrom in favor of Theodore would be an awful decision on the part of the Panthers.
With virtually nothing left to play for this season, Theodore returning to play a game or two for the Panthers won’t be the end of the world. He deserves a chance to show he can play in case there is interest out there in his services for next season, and if this is the end of the road for him it would be better to end his career playing than on injured reserve.