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Panthers GM considers Thomas, Bryzgalov, Theodore

by Alain Poupart /

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon confirmed Wednesday morning he had inquired about bringing veteran goalies Tim Thomas, Ilya Bryzgalov and Jose Theodore to training camp on a tryout basis.

Tallon said he had not gotten a positive response from any of the three.

"Obviously if there's anything happening, we'd like to have it sooner [rather] than later," Tallon said. "There's really no time limit, just sooner would be better. We're doing our homework. We're investigating. We'll do what's best for everyone involved."

As of Wednesday morning, the Panthers were scheduled to enter training camp with one healthy goalie with NHL experience, Jacob Markstrom. Veteran Scott Clemmensen had knee surgery last week and isn't expected to be ready to practice until late September.

The other goalies on the training camp roster are Dov Grumet-Morris, Rob Madore and Michael Houser. Grumet-Morris spent all of last season in the American Hockey League, Houser played in the ECHL, and Madore split time between the two leagues.

Theodore played 15 games for the Panthers last season before sustaining a knee injury in an early March game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He became an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Tallon said the reason behind the search for a veteran goalie is simple.

"The whole depth situation all the way through," Tallon said. "Obviously [Markstrom] is our goalie, but if something happens — and there's always that possibility, based on our experiences last year — we want to make sure that we have people in position to fill in and play well and allow us to win when we are banged up."

Thomas was out of the NHL last season, and Bryzgalov had an inconsistent season with the Philadelphia Flyers. When Tallon was asked whether he would be hesitant to bring in a goalie who is considered "flaky," as is the case with Bryzgalov and Thomas, he didn't hesitate with his reply.

"The puck doesn't know they're flaky," Tallon said. "I don't care about that. Goalies are unique to begin with. I'm OK with it."

Markstrom said he's not concerned about who might or might not be joining the goalie competition in training camp.

"You know what, for me, I can't affect anything Dale or [assistant GM Mike Santos] or the people upstairs are doing," Markstrom said. "They're trying to do their job, and my job is to play goalie and play as good as I can. It doesn't matter who they bring in. I don't put a lot of thought in that.

"Nothing has happened yet. If it happens, it happens and we deal with it then. My thought and my mind-set is all on myself and trying to be as good as possible right now."

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