Florida Panthers backup G Scott Clemmensen has surgery, expected out three weeks

If the Cats weren't already receiving brickbats from talking heads entering 2013-14 campaign, here's further ammunition for detractors.

It would appear the Cats are firmly on track for a traditional start to a new season. Via the Miami Herald's George Richards:

General manager Dale Tallon said Sunday that Scott Clemmensen had minor knee surgery last week and will miss the first three weeks of camp. The Panthers have their first practice Thursday morning in Coral Springs.

Clemmensen is projected to be the backup to 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom when the season starts. Tallon said Clemmensen should be back for the season opener Oct. 3 in Dallas. Michael Houser, 20, is currently second on Florida's depth chart with Clemmensen out.

Gotcha. The Sun-Sentinel's Harvey Fialkov expands a tad on Tallon, Inc.'s plan moving forward:

[General manager Dale] Tallon said he will be shopping for a veteran free-agent goalie, but there is no indication that the Panthers are considering bringing back veteran free agent Jose Theodore, 36, who's still available and lives in the area.

So Florida once again loses a major participant - yes, backup goaltender can arguably be described as "major" on this squad - before the regular season begins. You may recall the injury situation in mid-January of this year, as Sean Bergenheim (groin), Kris Versteeg (hip), Marcel Goc (groin), Mike Weaver (concussion, or is that "upper body"?), Ed Jovanovski (knee), Michael Caruso (broken arm), and Stephen Weiss (lower body) all stumbled their respective way to the IR or day-to-day status sheet within days of the season's first puck drop. Of course, some of the madness can be chalked up to Lockout Hangover, but still...doesn't such a drastic loss of available talent seem to be a bit, well, expected after the past half-decade or so?

Whatever the ultimate outcome, the NHL's 2013 free agent class of netminders just saw its overall value tick up. And by the way, if Clemmer is only going to be out for three weeks, why would management go immediately public with their intention to replace him?

Down goes Clemmer, if only for a spell (or so we're told). What course should Florida's hockey ops follow as new season approaches?

Wait it out; go with Marky & Houser (or whomever)26
Sign a UFA 'tender49