He was potentially the hottest goaltender in a slew of netminders to hit NHL free agency. While there was talk all the way up to the free agency period that Jacob Markstrom might re-sign with the Vancouver Canucks — and they certainly gave it their all to do so — Markstrom ends up signing with the Calgary on a long-term deal that will pay $6 million per season. It was the biggest free agent deal done on Monday, up to that point.
Related: Hall Officially Heads to NHL Free Agency, 4 Teams In The Mix
According to reports that surfaced just a couple of days before the free agency period opened, the Oilers and Flames were rumored to be in on Markstrom if he were to shake loose. For either team, Markstrom was an upgrade over the previous season’s backstops. Now, the Flames will go into the 2020-21 campaign with a goalie that can start in 50-60 games easily, as long as he remains healthy.
Did Calgary Get the Best Goalie Available?
Without a question, Markstrom topped most lists when it came to the best goaltender available in free agency. He was the one netminder any team would consider giving a long-term deal to.
Markstrom had a 2.75 GAA in 43 games this past regular season and touted a save percentage of .918. In 2018-19, he was nearly as goo (2.77 and .912 in 60 games) as he was during the 2017-18 campaign. If nothing else, he’s consistent and has proven he can handle the workload.
Canucks Replaced Markstrom With Holtby
Considering the Canucks just lost one of the top goaltenders for nothing, and they’ve also said goodbye to Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev, first reactions might have been that the sky was falling in Vancouver. It didn’t.
Thatcher Demko turned heads in the postseason with his performance for the Canucks and many believed he had earned the right to be considered the future of the team’s net. Investing in Markstrom would have potentially meant giving up on Demko and moving him at some point in the futre. Now, the Canucks will get to see what they have in the young keeper.
And, the Canucks added Braden Holtby early in free agency. Some are saying they grabbed perhaps the second-best goalie available.
So Markstrom out and Holtby in. And, in doing so, the Canucks saved close to a couple million dollars.
Next: A Closer Look at 17 Goalies Available in 2020 NHL Marketplace
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