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Theodore Ready To Start For Panthers

MIAMI ( – When the puck drops on the new NHL season, the Panthers are going to need an expanded program to help fans identify the new players. The crucial goalie position is no exception as the Panthers replace Tomas Vokoun with veteran Jose Theodore.

Theodore, who will be 35 by the time the season begins, was coveted by Panthers general manager Dale Tallon. Theodore told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald that last year, he could have played upwards of 55 games and that he wants "to return to playing at a high level."

But even though Theodore is penciled in as the starter, he's still got to win his job in camp. He will compete with Scott Clemmensen in camp and knows that if Clemmensen outplays him, Theodore will be the backup.

Theodore spent last season with the Minnesota Wild and won 15 of the 32 games he played in.

He may have another battle with a young Florida goalie, Jacob Markstrom. The former second round pick is said to be the Panthers' goalie-in-waiting, but he's been limited by an injury to the meniscus of his knee.

Theodore may be a stop-gap goalie to get the team far enough along to give Markstrom time to heal and improve his game. In some ways, Theodore may play a role similar to that of Chad Pennington in 2008 with the Dolphins.

Of course if Theodore does what Pennington did and leads his team to the playoffs, he might just earn another year as a starter between the pipes.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)

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