The 2010 season didn't exactly end well for Jose Theodore, considering he was benched in the playoffs in favor of Semyon Varlamov. Obviously, that was going to affect his free agent stock this summer. But it's hard to believe that his failures at the end of the year might ultimately doom his NHL career. Right?
Yet that's exactly where he finds himself right now. We're in August, just a month before the start of NHL training camps, and Theodore still doesn't have an NHL job. We're talking about a former Vezina Trophy winner here, not some random scrub. Sure, Theodore's game fell off since winning that honor, but he proved last year he's still a competent option.
So why hasn't any NHL team picked the guy up?
Capitals blog Live In Red has a theory, and it's not a particularly flattering one for Theodore.
But through two seasons with the Washington Capitals, Theodore has come to have a stigma of an inability to rise to the occasion when it counts - during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. During his tenure in Washington he played a grand total of four playoff games, and not recording a single victory. Now whether you attribute a ‘short leash' or poor play to his being pulled this season during the playoffs or not, regardless, it has painted Theodore in a negative light across the NHL.
That might indeed be it, and if so, that's too bad. Lots of goalies don't perform well in the playoffs, not just Theodore. It'd be a real shame if some "stigma" ultimately ends the career of a goalie who has fought off all the demons he faced earlier in his career to become a competent player again.