I’m first going to give you the news, but then I’m going to tell you what I really think about it. First, I have to admit that I’m a bit surprised – to say the least. Somehow, I forgot for a moment that NHL hockey is sports and sports is a business. I also forgot for a moment that NHL players are professionals, and professionals follow the money.
By the way, I don’t blame you. I just wish it were different.
Related: Braden Holtby Signs 2-Yr Deal With Vancouver Canucks
Jacob Markstrom Is No Longer a Vancouver Canucks Player
First, here’s the news. In what was a surprise to me, Jacob Markstrom signed a six-year deal with the Calgary Flames for $36 million. On one hand, because I’m a Markstrom fan, I’m really happy for him. On the other hand, the deal broke my heart.
When I retired to Vancouver Island from teaching at the University of Alberta for more than 40 years, I was an Edmonton Oilers fan – hard-core. However, over the past six years that I’ve lived on Vancouver Island, the Vancouver Canucks have grown on me.
Really, how can you not fall in love with a Canucks team that started out so very low and then, this year especially, pulled their act together to make the playoffs? They are fun – frustrating – exciting – young – they care.
Furthermore, not only did this upstart team make the playoffs, they actually pushed through these playoffs into the second round. On their way, they beat the reigning Stanley Cup champions the St. Louis Blues. They gave everyone where I live tons to cheer about. My neighborhood felt pretty pumped and looked forward to next season.
Jacob Markstrom Was a Class Act
Jacob Markstrom was a big part of that team. What a class act in so many ways – humble, team-oriented, happy, and appreciative. He’s hard not to like him – and that won’t change even now.
One of the highlights of the season was the magnificent shutout he threw at the Chicago Blackhawks on the night when the Sedin twin’s banners were hung in the Rogers Arena. He was phenomenal and the story of the game, and he openly was a fanboy for the Swedes who came before him on the Canucks team. Markstrom faced high danger shots all night long and stopped them all – in the end he had 49 saves to record a shutout.
That’s the Markstrom I’ll remember. Now he’s gone. The specifics of the deal are these –
Markstrom signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Calgary Flames on Friday. Markstrom will become the Flames starter ahead of David Rittich. Cam Talbot signed with the Minnesota Wild. If he can stay healthy, Markstrom seems to be a lock for 30 wins during the 2020-21 season (unless it’s a shortened season).
Markstrom, although he suffered personal sadness losing his father back in Sweden, had a strong 2019-20 regular season. His record was 23-16-4 in 43 games. His save percentage was .918, a goals-against-average of 2.75, and he had two shutouts – including the one noted above.
In signing with Calgary, Markstrom scored the biggest contract of the day so far. He was fourth in Vezina Trophy voting. For Calgary, Marksgtrom is the goalie they were looking for to help solidify the team’s situation in net for the long term.
Related: Canucks GM Benning Thinking Stanley Cup with Ekman-Larsson Trade Try
The Canucks Move onto Braden Holtby
On the same day Markstrom signed with the Flames, former Washington Capitals’ Braden Holtby signed a two-year, $8.6-million contract with the Canucks.
By the way Canucks fans, Holtby won the Vezina Trophy after a great 2015-16 season. Markstrom was fourth in Vezina Trophy voting.
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