It turns out Jose Theodore may not have had as much NHL interest as he was hoping.
Igor Eronko of sport.ru in Russia reports Theodore has signed a one-year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
There was a report just a couple days ago he had an offer from them, but those were shot down and countered with another report saying he had interest from as many as three NHL teams.
After having his season ended early with the Panthers last season, Theodore was hoping to bounce back as a backup somewhere this season. Ideally he wanted to stay with Florida but that didn’t happen.
Heading to the KHL to continue his career isn’t a bad move for the 2002 Hart Trophy winner at this point just so long as those NHL teams he was reportedly talking with weren’t that interested.
Former Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore may not be out of work much longer.
Francois Gagnon of RDS reports (link in French) the 2002 Hart Trophy winner has three NHL teams looking into signing him. Among the possible suitors are the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and San Jose Sharks. All three teams will start the season with questionable backup situations.
In Pittsburgh, Tomas Vokoun’s absence with a blood clot forces AHL veteran Jeff Zatkoff into the backup role. Nashville has Carter Hutton looking to backup Pekka Rinne while the Sharks have competition between Alex Stalock and Harri Sateri for the No. 2 spot behind Antti Niemi.
Those teams could get by with what they have already as backups, but Theodore provides the kind of veteran know-how coaches are more comfortable with.
There were rumors earlier of KHL interest in Theodore but he’s holding out for a NHL job. He wanted to stay with the Panthers, but they didn’t offer him a new deal and opted to invite Tim Thomas to camp this summer. Thomas is likely to sign with the team once new ownership takes over.
Florida’s goaltending situation would seem to be settled with Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen. That news doesn’t bode well for last year’s No. 1 guy Jose Theodore.
Theodore spoke with Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel and said things aren’t going great to return to Florida this season.
“The Panthers are still my No. 1 choice. I don’t know if the door is closed, but there’s been no discussions,” Theodore said. “Training camp is still a month away, so I’m not ready to think about [retirement].
For what it’s worth, Theodore is keeping a positive outlook on things comparing this to when he seemingly, out of the blue, signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2010. That said, if he’s banking on staying in Sunrise with the Panthers, he might be waiting a long time for a phone call.
GM Dale Tallon has essentially said they’re moving ahead with Markstrom as their top guy and with Clemmensen still there to provide relief, they’re not in any hurry to overcrowd the crease. Even with questions about whether Markstrom can live up to the hype, Theodore might want to consider locations other than South Beach.
For the past two summers, rumors swirled around the Florida Panthers concerning their interest in Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. For the past two summers, the Panthers never made a move. The reason? 23 year-old goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Markstrom was the organization’s top prospect for years before getting thrown into the starting job last season when Jose Theodore’s season was ended by injury. GM Dale Tallon has been Markstrom’s biggest fan and has made it clear he wants to stick by him.
It hasn’t been easy for him so far as a pro. Last season after a particularly brutal 7-1 loss to Washington, Markstrom was called out by coach Kevin Dineen. Last year’s Panthers were the worst team in the league so you can hang many of the troubles he had on that.
Two seasons ago when he got his first real taste of NHL action, he did well, stats-wise, in seven games. While he went just 2-4-1 he put up a .925 save percentage and a 2.66 goals-against average. The former number will put you in the top-ten amongst goalies most seasons.
The question the Panthers have to ask themselves here is: Which guy is the real Markstrom? The kid from two seasons showed a lot of the reasons why they’ve stayed out of the Luongo fray.
If he turns out to be more like the player we saw last season, however, perhaps Tallon might want to keep Mike Gillis’ phone number handy just in case.
Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Florida Panthers.
After making the playoffs and winning the Southeast Division two years ago, things went back to “normal” last year for the Panthers. They were last in the division, Eastern Conference, and the league. Things went so poorly they didn’t even land the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Now that they’ve put that behind them, it appears they’ve got another potentially bumpy season ahead with a very young team. GM Dale Tallon will eventually look like a smart guy when their prospects finally make it to the show, but for now everyone’s going to have some growing pains.
It all started at the NHL Draft for the Panthers as they selected Aleksander Barkov with the second overall pick giving them a potential No. 1 center to play with Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau. When free agency started, it was more about who wasn’t coming back.
Gone are center Stephen Weiss, winger Peter Mueller and goalie Jose Theodore. They also bought out defenseman Filip Kuba.
Tallon replaced Weiss with Barkov, mainly, but also just brought in Scott Gomez on a one-year deal to try and solidify things up the middle. Forwards Joey Crabb and Bobby Butler and defenseman Matt Gilroy rounded out their haul and that’s not overly inspiring.
Instead, Florida will hope for better luck with injuries so they can get more from Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim, and Kris Versteeg. They’ll also be hoping goalie Jacob Markstrom can shake off a tough rookie year on a bad team and evolve into the No. 1 goalie they believe he can be.
Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series