The Florida Panthers have had one of the more notable storylines of an otherwise quiet preseason around the league in giving Tim Thomas a run as a potential backup goaltender for them in 2013-14. He’s in camp on a professional tryout, with a crack at backing up Jacob Markstrom this year.
Thomas didn’t step on the ice last year, just as he said he would not following the 2011-12 season. The lockout certainly sealed the deal there as well. Nonetheless, Thomas still has some game left, and in a limited role as a no. 2 goaltender he could be a terrific addition for the Panthers, on more than one level.
The first level is simply the fact that they lack a reliable option as a no. 2 goaltender. Scott Clemmensen is a career backup, with virtually no experience starting over a long stretch of games. In the event that Markstrom struggles or gets hurt, the Panthers have no no. 2 option. Thomas would provide some stability there.
He also brings that veteran experience. Markstrom’s first full season at this level was last season, and it came in a shortened campaign. If he is truly the goaltender of the future for the Panthers, a veteran backup to help mentor him would be terrific for his development. Thomas has been through a lot, both lows and extreme highs, throughout his career.
It really is a no lose situation for the Panthers, bringing Thomas in. He’s a proven goaltender that can start a decent stretch if something happens to Markstrom. And he brings that veteran factor, which the Panthers lack overall as an organization. If he makes the team, it’s a positive for the Panthers.