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Hockey's Future: Markstrom, Kulikov, Matthias tops for Panthers

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In a league chock full of ironies, it should come as no surprise that Hockey's Future released it's Organizational Depth Analysis for Florida on the very day Pistol Pete DeBoer hauled a stunned Scott Clemmensen out of his net less than two minutes into a first-period shelling by the visiting Sabres.

Who's tops on HF's list? Panthers goaltender-of-the-future Jacob Markstrom, of course.

The game in question was not necessarily "lost" by the 'tending tandem of Clemmer and Tomas Vokoun, but neither was in game-stealing form, either. (They did look superb in their new masks, however.)

Which brings us to Markstrom, biding his time in the Elitserien, and finishing up which will arguably be his final professional bow in Europe. Cats fans have been waiting the better part of two years to see the "kid" up close, and it's hard to fathom that opportunity will arise any later than training camp 2010-11.

Whomever's at the reigns of this franchise come that time will have a confounding decision to make: Clemmer? Two years remaining on his contract. Alexander Salak? His first year of North American hockey under his belt, via Rochester (and he's looking good so far). Assuming Vokoun remains with the club past the next trade deadline (it's almost inconceivable that he will, given his salary and consistent inconsistencies), that's four presumably NHL-ready netminders. In a perfect world, anyway.

A few notes on the HF list:

Michal Repik and Keaton Ellerby at 4 and 5, right where they should be. Evgeni Dadonov in the ninth spot? He just got here, folks. Kenndal McArdle hangs on at number 20. Kulikov will be out of the "prospect" category by January.