Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Florida Panthers assistant GM wants young goalie Jacob Markstrom to spend one more season in AHL article by Harvey Fialkov

I'm posting this because it will have an impact on José next season, even if only to determine who will be his backup.

Panthers projected goalie of the future Jacob Markstrom may still be just that after assistant General Manager Mike Santos told the Sun-Sentinel Wednesday that he would like the lanky Swede to play one more season in the American Hockey League.

Markstrom, 22, is coming off his second consecutive injury-plagued professional season in which he recovered from at least his second knee surgery in time to compete in the recently concluded playoff run by the San Antonio Rampage, Florida's first-year AHL affiliate.

Markstrom was 4-4 with a 2.85 goals-against-average in the playoffs, and was on the losing end of last week's 4-3 loss to Oklahoma City that eliminated San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals in five games.

"He was OK,'' said Santos, who serves as the general manager of the Rampage. "I don't know what else to say. If you look at his numbers they were good; they could be better and I think they will get better.

"Again he's a young guy, and unfortunately for two years as a pro he hasn't had a full season in the minors as far as being the number one guy that we had hoped. Most of it's been because of injury, not only to him, but injuries to the goalies we have in Florida which required us to recall him.

"His season was disjointed so I still think he needs that one full year to be the guy and understand what it's like to be the guy that everyone is counting on a nightly basis.''

If that's the case, then the Panthers would most likely make the re-signing of veteran free-agent goalie Scott Clemmensen, 34, more of a priority than originally believed. Panthers GM Dale Tallon and Santos both have made it clear that they were pleased with Clemmensen's body of work in their two years together, particularly this season in which he was 14-6-6 with a 2.57 GAA.

Jose Theodore, 35, is signed through next season at $1.5 million and his bounce-back season of 22-16-11 (2.46 GAA) only reinforces Santos' oft-repeated dogma that there is no need to rush a young prospect like Markstrom.

Markstrom, the Panthers' first pick (31st overall) in the 2008 draft, played in just 37 games last year and 32 games this season in which he was 17-12-1-1 with a 2.32 GAA for San Antonio. In seven games with the Panthers, Markstrom was a respectable 2-4-1 with a 2.66 GAA.

Clemmensen, who said he would like to remain with the Panthers, earned $1.2 million, while Markstrom is signed through 2013 at $1.3 million per, however, that figure is greatly reduced if he spends most of the season in the AHL.

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