SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Tim Thomas is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner whose last NHL victory was nearly 18 months ago. Ilya Bryzgalov is getting $23 million from the Philadelphia Flyers to play for someone else.
And the Florida Panthers have an interest in both.
With a clear need for depth and experience in net, the Panthers are waiting to hear if either Thomas or Bryzgalov will be willing to come to training camp in Florida. The Panthers will go into camp with Jacob Markstrom as the frontrunner for the starting job, after an offseason where Jose Theodore became a free agent and Scott Clemmensen had arthoscopic knee surgery.
"They're veteran guys that have won and we're looking at everything," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said Wednesday after confirming he "inquired" about the availability of Thomas and Bryzgalov, who are both looking for jobs. "We're not in a position not to look at anything and we want to get better. It's important that we investigate every possible scenario to make our team better."
The Panthers finished last season with an NHL-worst 15 victories. Even with an abbreviated 48-game schedule, they still were 19 points away from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Markstrom had eight of Florida's wins last season, and his goals-against average of 3.22 was slightly better than either Theodore or Clemmensen — yet still ranked 44th in the NHL.
"I'm here to be the starting goalie," Markstrom said. "That's nothing to be shy about. I'm here to play and I really want to play and I really want to play good and help the team win."
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