Countdown 5: No. 2 Player To Watch; Jose Theodore
Monday, 10.10.2011 / 5:07 PM ET
|Goaltender Jose Theodore, one of seven Panthers signees this off-season posted 15-11-3 record with Minnesota last season.|
Looking for a netminder on July 1 after unable to come to terms with Tomas Vokoun, the Panthers quickly made a call to a former Vezina Trophy winner as free agency started.
Jose Theodore, was their target, and the veteran 35-year-old goaltender quickly signed a two-year contract with the club. Theodore has seen plenty of action during his 13 seasons in the NHL (581 games) and though Theodore is coming off a season in which he was a backup with the Minnesota Wild, he is capable of being a starter and producing a winning season as he has had six of them in his career. He also has played in more than half of his team’s games in eight of his seasons.
“Jose is a veteran goalie who has won both the Vezina and Hart Trophy,” said Tallon at the time of the signing. “He has played in more than 500 games in the National Hockey League, earning more than 250 wins, and adds depth and experience to our team.”
With backup goalie Scott Clemmensen out with a knee injury, Theodore is going to have to carry the early season load. If you look at last seasons games played (32) you might be worried how he could hold up for the whole season, but in an interview Theodore stated he could have played in up to 55 games last season and that he wants “to return to playing at a high level.”
Theodore didn’t get off to a good start in a Panthers jersey, in his final start of the preseason he surrendered seven goals. That followed a game in which he allowed five goals. Coach Kevin Dineen had faith in his netminder, he believed that once the season started he would be ready to play.
Dineen was right, in his first regular season game for the Panthers, Theodore shut out the Islanders 2-0. Theodore now has 31 shutouts in his career, hopefully there will be plenty more of that to come in this young season.
“Things didn’t go as planned during training camp,’’ said Dineen to the Miami Herald, “but he’s a professional. He has played in Montreal, where everything is magnified to such a high level. He’s patient.’’
Theodore, starting in the most important position on the ice, will be an important player to watch this up-coming season.
BY THE NUMBERS
.916 - Recorded a .916 save percentage last season with Minnesota, his highest save percentage since 2003-04 when he had a .919 save percentage with Montreal.
7 - Had a career-high seven shutouts during 2001-02 season, helping him capture the Vezina and Hart Trophies.
40 - Started the season in 40th place among netminders in victories with 260. Added another one against the NY Islanders in game one of the 2011-12 season.
67 - Played in career-high 67 games twice, during the 2001-02 and 2003-04 seasons with Montreal.
77 - Recorded 77 victories in the previous three seasons with Washington and Minnesota. Had a .606 winning percentage while going 77-35-15 over that span.