With Tim Thomas returning from injury this weekend and Scott Clemmensen having played well enough in his last two starts to make the Florida Panthers more comfortable with him as the No. 2 guy, it seems likely that Jacob Markstrom will be riding buses in the AHL again soon.
Markstrom has been projected as the team’s goalie of the future since he was drafted, but hasn’t been able to find any sort of consistency at the NHL level. He was absolutely thrashed last season in a true trial-by-fire sequence. It was believed that another summer of work and a healthy team in front of him would propel Markstrom to a higher level of play this year, but he’s been as inconsistent as ever.
His .877 save percentage is the 44th worst in the league, and his 3.36 is at least one point higher than the Panthers would like it to be. Harvey Fialkov and Dieter Kurtenbach of the Florida Sun Sentinel reported that this will likely cause Florida to demote the netminder:
In addition, the long-projected goalie of the future, Jacob Markstrom, 23, continues to be maddeningly inconsistent, and will most likely head back to the minors when Thomas returns to the lineup against Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.
The assignment may not be a particularly long one, however. Thomas has had issues staying healthy so far this season, and given his age (39) that isn’t likely to change. That will leave the Panthers with the option of starting Clemmensen or continuing to get Markstrom starts at the NHL level.
Neither option is particularly outstanding, but that’s just where this team is right now.