The Panthers negotiations with goalie Jacob Markstrom weren't as contentious as some were led to believe as he was signed to a two-year deal on Monday.
Markstrom, 23, will be under a two-way provision in the first year of the contract. His second season will be a one-way deal.
"This is the deal that works for both sides,'' assistant general manager Mike Santos said. "Jacob is, obviously, still a top prospect. As a goaltender sometimes it takes a little longer to develop. I think this was the right deal for him and for us. He's by no means the complete goaltender we hope he will be someday. But, again, he's young.''
Markstrom, a second round pick in 2008, became the Panthers starting goalie last season after Scott Clemmensen struggled and Jose Theodore tore his groin March 2 in Carolina.
"We were forced into that situation last year because of the injury,'' Santos said. "He was thrown into a tough situation. Given the time he came up and all the injuries we had in the short season, I think it was difficult to expect him to come in and play to the best of his abilities.''
Santos said he expects a starting goalie to emerge during training camp and that Markstrom won't be handed the job. That said, the Panthers likely aren't looking for another goalie to come in although that could change.
Santos said he hasn't spoken to Theodore, a free agent, since the end of last season. Theodore said he wanted to come back to the Panthers although that doesn't appear to be a likelihood.
Markstrom wrote he was excited to sign and "can't wait for the season to start!" on his Twitter account on Monday afternoon moments after Santos officially broke the news of the signing.
PHOTO BY JOE RIMKUS JR./Miami Herald Staff