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Examining the Florida Panthers goaltenders

by John McGourty

Complete Panthers Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Who's No. 1?

Ed Belfour and Alex Auld, last season's goaltending tandem, won't be back. Florida traded this summer for Tomas Vokoun, a top-flight goalie who battled health problems in Nashville.

Vokoun is one of the NHL's best goalies. Frankly, with the exception of the first half last season, goaltending has been Florida's strength for most of this decade. Vokoun is 161-159-46 with a 2.55 goals-against average. The numbers don't reflect his skill level because he was Nashville's goalie before they were good. He takes medications to control a blood-clotting problem and he's also had knee and back problems. A thumb injury last season could be a concern.

Backup plan

Craig Anderson had a strong season last year with the AHL Rochester Americans, posting a 23-10-1 record with a 2.56 GAA and a .919 save percentage with one shutout in 34 games. Anderson was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the third round, 73rd overall, in the 2001 Entry Draft.

In the Wings

Tyler Plante -- He may be Rochester bound after four good years with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Plante was the WHL rookie of the year in 2005 when he went 34-11-2. He was 30-14-9 last season and 89-49-16 over four WHL seasons. Plante is technically sound and aggressive, but has some weaknesses he'll have to overcome to get to the NHL.

David Shantz -- A second-round pick in 2004, Shantz was off to good start in his rookie season with the ECHL Florida Everblades when he suffered a knee injury. Shantz played only 23 games there and posted a 14-7-1 record. He returned to play two regular-season games with Rochester and a playoff game with the Everblades.

New Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun on becoming a Panther:

"I know the team has missed the playoffs the last couple years, but it’s something I am looking forward in helping to change. It’s a good franchise and the stuff I’ve heard is all good and makes me excited. I know there are large shoes to fill, but I want people to expect me to fill them. That’s why you play and compete."

1. Tomas Vokoun ranked fifth among NHL goaltenders in save percentage with a career-best .920 and posted five shutouts, a personal best.

2. Craig Anderson was 1-1-1 with a 2.21 GAA and .939 save percentage in five Panthers' games last season.

3. Florida ranked 21st last year with an average of 3.04 goals-against.'s 2007-08 Panthers Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
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