Jim Benning has his goaltending succession plan. After correctly choosing Jacob Markstrom over Eddie "Tacos and Twitter" Lack last summer, he has now extended Markstrom for three years beyond the upcoming season. Markstrom's new deal carries a cap hit of $3.67 million and runs through the end of the 2019-20 season. In 2016-17, the final year of his current deal, Markstrom will make $1.5 million. He'll be Vancouver's starter after Ryan Miller and will give Thatcher Demko the time he needs to make the transition from college hockey.
Markstrom emerged last season as a superior NHL netminder. Despite a modest win total -- 13 out of 30 starts -- his play was stellar. Often, his play in net was the only thing holding the Canucks in games down the stretch.
It's difficult to overstate the impressiveness of Jacob Markstrom's reclamation.
Markstrom's early career numbers in Florida were poor.
Clearly, that's a partial reflection of the quality of the team in front of him. But he did not impress, either. The odds that a player with those numbers would become even an average NHL starting goalie are low. That he now is Ryan Miller's heir apparent is a testament to the fine coaching work of Dan Cloutier and Rollie Melanson and to Markstrom's own perseverance, fortitude, and hard work.
From the press release:
"Jacob is a talented, competitive goaltender with size and a proven ability to make big saves at crucial moments in a game," said Jim Benning. "He set career highs in several statistical categories last season and two years ago led the Comets to their first Calder Cup Final. He’s motivated and wants to help his team win. We’re excited to have Jacob competing in a Canucks uniform for years to come."
Appearing in his sixth NHL season in 2015.16, Markstrom established career highs for games played (33), starts (30), wins (13), shots against (988), saves (904) and minutes (1,848). The 26-year-old finished the season with a 2.73 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and set career-highs for most shots faced (48) and most saves made (47) in a single game on March 22, 2016 at Winnipeg.
Benning discussed the extension with the press:
Who will forget this save from last season (not to mention the dreadful play by the Canucks in their own end):
Or this play against the Edmonton Oilers:
And this game-saving pad save against the Bruins:
Canucks fans can join Markstrom in a happy dance, knowing he'll be with the team for three more years: