The mothership is busy today:
Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that the Canucks have re-signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a two-year deal.
Markstrom, 25, appeared in three games with the Canucks in 2014.15 and 32 games with the Utica Comets, where he posted a record of 22-7-2, a GAA of 1.88, save percentage of 0.934 and five shutouts. Markstrom backstopped the Comets to the Calder Cup Finals with a 0.925 save percentage and 2.11 GAA through 23 games.
In 50 career NHL games with Vancouver and Florida, the Gavle, Sweden native has a record of 13-28-5 with a 3.19 GAA. The 6’6", 199-pound goaltender was acquired by Vancouver from Florida alongside Shawn Matthias in exchange for Roberto Luongo and Steven Anthony on March 4, 2014.
The phrase "duh" comes to mind. Vancouver wasn't going to let Markstrom linger in limbo for long after the Lack trade effectively cemented him as the heir apparent to the seat Ryan Miller is keeping warm for - yup - another two seasons. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?
Markstrom's deal is reportedly $1.55 M AAV.
Jacob Markstrom tells us "Eddie told me about the trade himself. He texted me....It's great to see the #Canucks organization believes in me"— NEWS 1130 Sports (@NEWS1130Sports) June 27, 2015
More Markstrom: "I know (this market) is tough, but it shows they care, and want to see the team win." #Canucks— NEWS 1130 Sports (@NEWS1130Sports) June 27, 2015
Lack on Markstrom: "Only good things to say about Markie...Great guy to have in the locker room and a great goalie on the ice." #Canucks— NEWS 1130 Sports (@NEWS1130Sports) June 27, 2015
As for the debate as to whether Markstrom can become a regular NHL mainstay, give the Contrarian Goaltender piece on the 6'6'' Swede a quick read:
Those who hold out hope for Markstrom's NHL future could point out that he only just turned 25 years old and therefore still has some potentially good years ahead of him. The only problem is that goalies establishing themselves late is much rarer than many seem to believe, and a 25 year old goalie is usually already in the prime of his career. Pekka Rinne might be one of the most favourable possible comparisons for Markstrom, given that Rinne played all of 92 minutes in the NHL through age 25 and managed just .909 through three seasons in the AHL before emerging as first a starting goalie at 26 and then later a Vezina candidate at 28. Of course not everyone is Pekka Rinne, and it's not correct to expect anyone to match the performance of an outlier, but at the same time it is also true that not every goalie prospect has the pre-NHL track record of Jacob Markstrom.
How Desjardins balances the goaltending load heading into 2015-16 will be interesting, perhaps taking a note from the 2010-11 season and the William Jennings trophy split where Cory Schneider started 22 games to help take the pressure off Roberto Luongo while enduring a trial by fire in his own right.
Welcome to Vancouver (again!) Markstrom, where being a hometown goalie is a never-ending trial by fire. Oh, and we'll need to know what you eat and what chant you'll like for the big saves. See ya on the seawall!