Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While the Florida Panthers continue to fight for a playoff spot in 2012; the team has even more to look forward to next year beyond a possible playoff run.
Florida has stockpiled its farm system over the years with some of the best prospects in the league. At the forefront of those prospects is up-and-coming goalie Jacob Markstrom.
The Swedish-born Markstrom is a beast standing 6’6” and weighing just less than 200 pounds. According to NHL.com, he’s likely to make the biggest splash in the league starting next season.
Markstrom, 22, has spent a few years honing his game and is said to challenge shooters effectively and has excellent instincts. Markstrom stopped 121 of 128 shots during a four-game stint with Florida this year and then had minor surgery on his knee.
Upon his return from his knee surgery to San Antonio, Markstrom again became the goalie everyone thought he could be by stopping 119 of 125 shots in a four-game appearance. He’s going to finish the season with the San Antonio Rampage, but if healthy will start next season with the big club.
He’ll have to beat out incumbent Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, but the Panthers have been grooming him as the goalie of the future and that future looks like it will be in 2012-2013.
In addition, they have former number three overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau working on gaining some weight before coming up to the big squad.
The 6’1’, 171 pound 18-year-old Canadian threatened to join the club this season, but Panthers management wanted to hold him back until he developed more muscle mass to protect him in the NHL.