Pittsburgh Penguins: Backup Goaltending Still A Wild Card

By Randy Holt
Jeff Zatkoff
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the Pittsburgh Penguins lost Tomas Vokoun for several months because of complications related to a blood clot, the question of whether or not they should search for a new backup for Marc-Andre Fleury has been hanging over the collective heads of the organization.

They haven’t addressed that yet, and there’s no indication of whether they plan to do so or not. As of right now, the Penguins have been rolling with Jeff Zatkoff as their no. 2. The long time Los Angeles Kings farmhand is in his second season with the Penguins organization, and made his debut at this level early last week.

That first start didn’t go according to plan, and that’s putting it lightly. He allowed six goals against a Florida Panthers team that was the worst in the league in nearly every statistical category last season. Of course, it’s only one start, but should the Penguins be concerned about their no. 2 spot, especially with Fleury being such a wild card to begin with?

That may not be necessary at this point. For one, there is a lack of options out on the market. Ilya Bryzgalov is toiling in a semi-pro league in Las Vegas, and Jose Theodore hasn’t been playing anywhere. They represent the only two options that would make any sort of sense.

Between the two, one would imagine that the Pens would prefer to pursue Theodore, simply because of all the attention that Bryzgalov has drawn in the last couple of years, mostly negative. And there are questions about how high quality of a teammate that he actually is. There are no such issues with Theodore.

At this point, though, there’s no reason to search for a backup. Now if Zatkoff comes out and continues to struggle, then there may be a reason to go out and look at someone like Theodore. Until that happens, though, there’s no reason to look at alternatives for a Fleury backup.

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