Tag: Jacob Markstrom

Jacob Markstrom

Looking to make the leap: Jacob Markstrom


Canucks GM Jim Benning cleared a path for Jacob Markstrom to start the 2015-16 campaign with Vancouver by trading Eddie Lack, but this is far from the first time Markstrom has been given a good opportunity to establish himself in the NHL. The question is, will things be different this time around?

There certainly is the potential for that after the season he had in the minors. He was dominant with the AHL’s Utica Comets, posting a 1.88 GAA and .934 save percentage in 32 regular season contests. From there Markstrom led Utica to the Calder Cup Finals with a 2.11 GAA and .925 save percentage in 23 playoff games.

“I think if you look at the history of, whether it be Corey Crawford or Ben Bishop, or these types of players and how they perform at the American Hockey League level, and look at stats and numbers, you can put Jacob in that category,” Canucks president Trevor Linden argued in June.

“He’s had an excellent year. He needs to continue to develop at the National Hockey League level, and we’re going to give him that opportunity.”

Markstrom still has a 3.19 GAA and .896 save percentage in 50 NHL contests, but to be fair to him, he’s just 25 years old and goaltenders can take longer to find their games than forwards or defensemen.

To that end, Linden didn’t simply use those goaltenders as examples because they were the competing netminders in this year’s Stanley Cup Final. Crawford was 25 years old (26 on Dec. 31) in his first full campaign with Chicago while Bishop didn’t participate in more than 22 games in a single season until 2013-14 when he was 27 years old (as of Nov. 21 of that campaign).

So it would be premature to dismiss Markstrom just because he hasn’t developed as quickly as some anticipated. This time — as the backup to Ryan Miller — he might be ready to take advantage of the opportunity he’s been given.

It’s Vancouver Canucks Day at PHT

Radim Vrbata

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Vancouver Canucks.

After a rough season under bench boss John Tortorella, the Vancouver Canucks went into the 2014-15 campaign hoping that new coach Willie Desjardins would prove to be a better fit for their organization.

He certainly got more out of their offense as the Canucks went from averaging 2.33 goals per game under Tortorella to 2.88 last season, which was good for eighth in the league. Their resurgence was thanks in no small part to the Sedin twins as their point totals jumped by more than 20 points each, bringing them up to 73 (Henrik) and 76 (Daniel) points in 2014-15. Newcomer Radim Vrbata also meshed well in Vancouver, recording 63 points including a team-leading 31 goals.

Fellow 2014 free agent signing Ryan Miller didn’t enjoy quite as smooth of a transition. While he did have a 15-3-0 record through Nov. 28, he was more of a mixed bag after that. Complicating matters, Miller suffered an knee injury in late February that kept him out of the lineup for most of the stretch run. That led to Eddie Lack opening the playoffs as Vancouver’s starting goaltender and while he was actually statistically superior to Miller in the regular season, the 27-year-old netminder ran into problems as the first round series against Calgary progressed.

Lack was replaced by Miller in Game 4, but it wasn’t enough as the Flames went on to eliminated Vancouver six games.

Off-season recap

Vancouver entered the summer with something of a goaltending logjam as in addition to Lack and Miller, Jacob Markstrom seemed deserving of a roster spot after a dominant season with the AHL’s Utica Comets. However, Canucks GM Jim Benning made the controversial decision to move Lack for a 2015 third-round pick (Guillaume Brisebois) and a 2016 seventh-round selection rather than trading the 35-year-old Miller.

In addition to that trade, Vancouver also sent defenseman Kevin Bieksa to Anaheim for a 2016 second-round pick and acquired Brandon Sutter and a 2016 third-rounder from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Nick Bonino, Alex Clendening, and a 2016 second-round selection.

Vancouver sees Sutter as a “foundation piece” and cemented its commitment to him by agreeing to a five-year, $21.875 million contract extension.

Lack, Markstrom weigh in on trade speculation

Eddie Lack

With Canucks GM Jim Benning fielding calls on goaltenders Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom the pair voiced their opinion on being shopped with Vancouver radio station News 1130 on Monday.

“Gonna be an interesting few days, it can’t effect me, I’m working out, come back for next year wherever that is,” Markstrom said.

The 25-year-old appeared in just three games for the Canucks in 2014-15 going 1-1-0 with a 3.08 G.A.A. and an .879 save percentage.

Markstrom also appeared in 32 AHL games with the Utica Comets going 22-7-2 with a 1.88 G.A.A. and a .934 save percentage. He also helped the Comets to a berth in the Calder Cup final with a 12-11 playoff record posting a 2.11 G.A.A. and a .925 save percentage.

“I love Vancouver, goalie coaches are great, throw in the Utica run and you grow closer to the organization,” he said. “It’s a business, hardest league in the world, so many players knocking on the door.”

Markstrom’s two-year, $2.4 million contract is set to expire next week making him a restricted free agent.

Lack appeared in 41 games for the Canucks in 2014-15 posting an 18-13-4 record to go along with a 2.45 G.A.A. and a .921 save percentage. The 27-year-old also made four appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs going 1-3-0.

“I’m not focusing on it, I know there is a business side of it,” Lack said of the trade speculation. “I can’t do anything about it.

“I don’t want to talk about leaving Vancouver. I don’t think I’m getting traded, if I am, I will deal with it then.”

He has one year remaining with a $1.15 million cap hit before becoming an unrestricted free agent in July 2016.

Canucks fans have voiced their opinion on who they would like to have stick around.

An online petition titled “Keep Eddie Lack!” currently has 47 supporters.

“When we decide which goalie we’re going to keep moving forward, then we’ll act on it and I think we’ll be able to recover a fairly high pick,” said Benning told TSN Radio in Vancouver last week.

The Canucks currently don’t have a second or third round selection for this week’s NHL Draft.

Related: Chiarelli thinks Oilers will probably add a goalie before draft