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Finally! Houser signs with… the Florida Panthers

July 11, 2012

Our hearty congratulations  to Michael Houser, likely late of the London Knights,  who has signed an entry level contract with the Florida Panthers! While his departure will leave a gaping hole in the Knights’ net, we can’t but wish the best for the franchise’s winningest goalie.

After two years of being passed over in the NHL draft, many people thought that 2012 was the year that Michael Houser would finally be chosen. 2011-12 was a stellar season in which Houser won the OHL Goaltender of the Year, OHL League MVP (the Red Tilson Trophy), CHL Goaltender of the Year and backstopped the London Knights to an OHL Championship and to within a game of winning the Memorial Cup.  However, instead of eagerly attending the draft being hosted by Pittsburgh, just 10 minutes away in his home state of Pennsylvania, he stayed home. And again, he went unselected.

Prior to the draft, there were discussions about his well-known issues with his feet (club feet corrected by surgery). The sentiment was that teams might not want to ‘waste’ a draft pick on a 20-yr-old goaltender with possible problems with his legs despite his record and accumulated awards. There were also those who felt that it was in his best interests to not be drafted by any one particular team. The idea was that Houser would then be able to select the situation that would best suit his needs.

That situation appears to be with the Florida Panthers.  Despite the apparent glut  in net the Panthers have with  Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen, Jacob Markstrom (’08, 2/31), Brian Foster (’05, 5/161), Dov Grumet-Morris (’02, 5/161), Sergei Gayduchenko (’07, 7/202), and Sam Brittain (’10, 4/92) on their depth chart, they are still rumoured to be in the running for Roberto Luongo.  That might indicate that Houser’s chances aren’t too bad.  With Theodore their top NHL-proven goalie, Clemmensen a capable back-up and Markstrom as the top goaltending prospect, there is still some room for a prospect like Houser to jump in. Expectations seem to be having him start his pro career in the ECHL with the Panthers affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones.


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