When the Vancouver Canucks’ All-Star goalie Jacob Markstrom talks about his time in Vancouver, it isn’t difficult to read between the lines. He loves it in Vancouver and wants to stay with the Canucks. As a result, things seem moving towards the inevitable conclusion that he’ll be a Canucks player for the next few seasons.
Peter Jensen of NHL.com reported as much in an interesting article about the Canucks’ pending free-agent goaltender on Thursday during All-Star festivities. There, with three other Canucks players, Markstrom will suit up as a first-time NHL All-Star. The other Vancouver players are the two youngsters Elias Pettersson (second year) and Quinn Hughes (rookie). They are young and part of an emerging team that promises to become a contender soon – if not this season then next.
Markstrom was quoted as saying, “I’m just focused on the season. Obviously, I want to stay in Vancouver, but I’m sure the people with the suits will figure it out with my agent. I’ve just got to play hockey, and if I play good, I’m sure I’ll get to stay.”
The word “obviously” is a key one. And, it certainly means that Markstrom has every intention of remaining with his current team. Part of that, I believe from covering the team for more than a year now, is that the Canucks do about as well as any NHL team in encouraging a sense of community among the players. It seems, from all I read, that Vancouver has become a good place to play.
In addition, Vancouver itself is a jewel – great weather all-year round and beautiful infrastructure like parks and funky shopping – of a city and probably a great place for an NHL player to raise a family. Ask Canucks’ veteran Alexander Edler. Edler wants to retire in Vancouver and has (with his family) become quite well-known for his community work.
In addition, it doesn’t hurt to be earning and spending US dollars in a Canadian city. That’s a huge benefit for any NHL player living in Canada.
Pierre LeBrun: Are You Certain You Have it Right?
Ergo, when you read a Pierre LeBrun tweet that seems to imply that the two signing a mutually-binding contract isn’t as solid as it might seem, I’m thinking that he’s spinning for a story.
I’m sure LeBrun has it right that there’s still “lots of work to be done” on Markstrom’s extension. But really, that’s more like a Vancouver family saying “We’ve decided to drive with our family to Disneyland.” Sure, there’s the 20 hours and 29 minutes Google Maps says it will take the family to drive down I-5 from Vancouver to Anaheim and the work of finding pet-friendly motels and fast food the whole family will eat. But that’s a far cry from meaning the decision to head to Space Mountain was difficult.
And, as LeBrun further states, “It will be interesting to see what the number will be if/when it gets done.” Of course, he’s right. I’m interested, too; however, Canucks’ fans should not read too much into hockey insider spin. Markstrom will remain a Canuck; and, should you not be a Markstrom fan, well, too bad for you.
Why Wouldn’t Markstrom Re-sign?
The only reasons Markstrom wouldn’t stay a Canuck during his next contract would be if he experiences a disastrous injury and be unable to play; however, knowing the Canucks’ organization a little, I think they’d still pony up to take care of one of their own – and Markstrom is now considered one of their own. You don’t have to look past this season’s experience with his father’s death and memorial service back in Sweden to understand that fact. The two – the player and the organization – respect and care for each other.
The second reason Markstrom would not remain a Canuck on his next contract is if general manager Jim Benning would try to low-ball him or if Markstrom’s agent (Newport Sports Management, and Don Meehan) tries to squeeze Benning and the Canucks. But I don’t see that happening.
This Team Is Building Something
I know there are critics of Benning’s choices, but I believe the Canucks are building something quite special. They might not win the Stanley Cup this season or even the next, but the organization is making good choices and the results are coming in. It’s not an accident the Canucks are in first place in the Pacific Division. They’re a good team and are getting better.
I for one am glad that Markstrom will be part of that team going forward. I think he’s a class act and a good player for the team.
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