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article imageJacob Markstrom: Panthers last defence before Roberto Luongo deal

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 23, 2013 in Sports
The Florida Panthers are trying their third string goalie, Jacob Markstrom, to get more saves. It’s been a rough ride for the Panthers, who are out of the playoff picture in part due to Jose Theodore’s .893 SV % and Scott Clemmensen’s woeful .862.
The recently-turned 23-year-old Markstrom, a huge goalie at 6’6”, has spent the season to date with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL where he’s 16-15-2 with a .920 SV% and a 2.65 GAA on a team near the bottom of the 30-team league that hasn’t provided him with much in the way of goals. He is not among league leaders in any category, however, but Markstrom is now being given an opportunity to lead an NHL team out of the doldrums.
And avoid giving up talent for Roberto Luongo?
Markstrom has been in but 7 NHL games the past two seasons (2-5-1) but had his first NHL start of the season in Pittsburgh Friday night and while the Panthers lost, 3-1, his 37 saves were a big reason his club stayed in the game. At the moment Florida is in 13th, already 5 points out of 8th and with a shortened schedule that’s a real concern so that kind of effort is going to be required night in, night out.
Roberto Luongo: return to Florida?
How would Luongo look in Florida? It is his old club and he has his home in Miami, where his wife is from, so he’d surely be content going back there. That all dwarves in importance next to his numbers: he hasn’t lost in regulation this season and is 5-0-3 with a 1.45 GAA, a .941 SV% and 2 shutouts. The Panthers defensive game is hardly on a par with the Canucks, but those are still remarkable numbers and that save percentage alone would translate into points for Florida.
But back to Markstrom: one day the Swedish giant may be a number one but despite his lack of experience, he's being given the chance to boost Florida’s playoff hopes now. And what if he can`t pull it off? Providing Florida is not out of it when they throw in the towel on the Markstrom-as-number-one experiment, look for Steven Weiss and a Panther scoring prospect to find new homes in Vancouver and Luongo to return to his old home in Florida.
More about Roberto luongo, jacob markstrom, jose theodore, scott clemmensen, vancovuer canucks to deal luongo
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