The Florida Panthers are set with at least one position, goalies. On Thursday the Florida Panthers signed Marc Cheverie to a two year entry level contract. Cheverie just finished his junior year with the University of Denver Pioneers where he led the nation with 24 wins, six shutouts and a .937 save percentage. The season ended for the Pionees with a loss to RIT in the NCAA regional semifinals.
“It’s great to have this done,” said general manager Randy Sexton. “He’s a good young goaltending prospect. He made himself a player. He went to Denver as a backup and became one of the top goalies in the NCAA.” (quote from On Frozen Pond)
I’m sure the Panthers worked to get him signed so they could get two years out of him on an entry level contract to see what he’s capable of at the pro level. He will be at the Panthers training camp in September and possibly spend some time with the Amerks.
The signing of Cheverie does raise some questions about what the Panthers are going to do with all of these goalies. The Panthers also have Alexander Salak, Jacob Markstrom, Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmenson signed for next season. Tyler Plante is a RFA and Brian Foster is finishing up his college career. Where does everyone fit in?
Jacob Markstrom is expected to play in North America next season and he has said all along and so have the Panthers that they expect him to play in Rochester. Anything can change of course if the opportunity is there for him to make the Panthers lineup.
Alexander Salak has one year remaining on his two year contract. He’s had a rough second half of the season but with some off season work he’ll be back to the top. Based on stats he has gone from a top goalie in the league in the first half of the season to currently ranked at 35th. He still has a very respectable 28-14 record.
Tyler Plante is a restricted free agent at the end of the season as his initial entry level contract expires. He has played very well over the past few weeks and a strong performance in the playoffs will give the Panthers a tough decision to make. Unfortunately the odds are against him but if the Panthers pass on him he’ll have no problems finding a job somewhere.
The Florida Panthers have another goalie, Brian Foster, who was drafted in the 2006 draft during the 5th round who has finished his senior year at the University of New Hampshire. In 38 games played he has a 17-14-7 record with a 2.977 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.
One goalie that will be out of the Panthers system that Amerks fans will not miss is Chris Beckford-Tseu.
Current Panthers goalie Scott Clemmenson is signed for another two seasons with the Panthers. Tomas Vokoun will be entering the final year of his contract. As the Panthers start “rebuilding” again it’s likely that the Panthers will try and trade Vokoun prior to the draft or over the summer to get something in return for him instead of just letting him walk at the end of the 10/11 season.
No matter what happens, on paper the Amerks will have some decent goaltending again next season. The only hope I would have is that they hire a goalie coach to help the goalies out on a regular basis in Rochester. I’m assuming Randy Sexton will be in Rochester for the playoffs, hoping to talk to him more about all of this at that time.