Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Canucks hand Markstrom two-year, $3.1 mil deal

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The Vancouver Canucks announced that they have agreed to a two-year deal with goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

His contract will come with a $1.55 million annual cap hit, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The 25-year-old is set to enter the 2015-16 campaign as Ryan Miller’s understudy after Vancouver dealt Eddie Lack to Carolina on Saturday in exchange for the 66th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (Guillaume Brisebois) and a seventh rounder in 2016.

That trade was controversial, in part because Lack was a fan favorite coming off of a season where he posted a .921 save percentage in 41 contests and due to Markstrom’s struggles at the NHL level. In 50 career games, Markstrom has a 3.19 GAA and .896 save percentage.

At the same time, Markstrom posted 1.88 GAA and .934 save percentage in 32 games with AHL Utica in 2014-15 before leading the team to the Calder Cup Final with a 2.11 GAA and .925 save percentage in 23 playoff contests.

That was enough to convince team president Trevor Linden that he’s ready for the next level.

“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,” said Linden. “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.”

Vancouver also signed Linden Vey to a one-year, $1 million contract tonight.

Related: Linden defends Lack trade, thinks Canucks will have ‘real good goaltending next year’

Linden defends Lack trade, thinks Canucks will have ‘real good goaltending next year’

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SUNRISE — For a team that wants its “young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment,” the Vancouver Canucks are taking a bit of a gamble when it comes to their goaltending.

After trading Eddie Lack to Carolina, the Canucks intend to go with a tandem of Ryan Miller and Jacob Markstrom. The former is a 34-year-old who had a modest .911 save percentage last season; the latter is a 25-year-old who’s been great in the AHL but owns an .896 save percentage in 50 NHL appearances.

But team president Trevor Linden is confident that Markstrom, an AHL all-star this past season, is ready to take the next step.

“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,” said Linden. “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.”

Linden acknowledged that the decision to trade Lack, a fan favorite who also had a .921 save percentage last season, was going to be an “unpopular” one.

“People may say that a third-round pick — albeit 66th, which is a high third — wasn’t enough, but that’s what the market was. That’s what teams, 29 of them, were willing to do,” said Linden.

“We feel we’re going to have real good goaltending next year, with Ryan and Jacob. [Markstrom’s] a player that’s young and needs some time, and we’re going to give him that.”

The Canucks made another trade today, sending Harvard defenseman Patrick McNally (drafted 115th overall in 2011) to the Sharks for a 2015 seventh-round pick.

With the 66th pick they got for Lack, they drafted 17-year-old Acadie-Bathurst defenseman Guillaume Brisebois.

Carolina gets Lack from Vancouver for third, seventh-round picks

Eddie Lack
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The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired goaltender Eddie Lack from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for 66th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and a 2016 seventh-round pick, according to Sportsnet.

Update: Hurricanes GM Ron Francis has confirmed the trade, per Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander.

The 27-year-old netminder has a 2.43 GAA and .917 save percentage in 82 career games. He comes with an affordable $1.15 million cap hit for the 2015-16 campaign, although he is eligible to test the unrestricted free agent market after that.

This move signals that Vancouver plans to open the season with 25-year-old Jacob Markstrom as its backup goaltender. Markstrom has a poor track record over his 50 NHL games, but he had a dominant 1.88 GAA and .934 save percentage in 32 contests with AHL Utica last season. He further raised his stock by posting a 2.11 GAA and .925 save percentage in 23 playoff games to lead Utica all the way to the Calder Cup Final.

Ryan Miller, who has two seasons remaining on his contract with a $6 million annual cap hit, will once again go into the season as Vancouver’s number one netminder.

Carolina now has three goaltenders inked to one-way contracts, including Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin, so it is likely that the Hurricanes will make another move. It’s also worth noting that none of the three goaltenders are under their control beyond the upcoming season.

Related: Benning knows he ‘could get criticized’ for trading fan favorite Eddie Lack

Benning knows he ‘could get criticized’ for trading fan favorite Eddie Lack

Florida Panthers v Vancouver Canucks
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FORT LAUDERDALE — With the petition to “Keep Eddie Lack!” approaching 1,500 signatures, Canucks GM Jim Benning knows he could be in for some abuse.

If Lack is traded, there will be a lot of angry fans in Vancouver, a market that’s already had to say good-bye to Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider in the last couple of years.

But Benning’s job is to put the best team on the ice, and he feels that keeping Ryan Miller and trading one of Lack or Jacob Markstrom is the best strategy.

“Sitting in my shoes, and when I talk to my management team, we have to make the decision that’s best for the organization going forward,” said Benning.

“I know if that’s the way we decide to go, I could get criticized. But that’s part of the job. There’s nothing I can do about that.”

Benning reiterated today that Vancouver won’t be trading Miller, because “we want to keep a veteran goalie.”

So it’s either Lack, the fan favorite, or Markstrom, the AHL all-star, who will be dealt.

“I think a big part of our team last year was that we had two good goalies,” said Benning. “Ryan is a proven number-one goalie in the league. So we want to keep Ryan, then we have to make a hard decision on the other two guys.

“Now, part of that decision is going to be based on who we think has the most upside, and part of it’s going to be how he fits in our salary cap situation. That’s just the decision that we have to make to keep moving forward.”

The Buffalo Sabres, armed with a pair of second-round draft picks, are reportedly one of the teams interested in Lack.

Related: Benning confident Canucks can ‘get a fairly high draft pick’ for Lack or Markstrom

 

No question: Price wins Vezina Trophy by decisive margin

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For the first time in his career Carey Price is the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender.

The Habs’ starter beat out Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.

Price won 44 games during the 2014-15 season beating Jacques Plante’s franchise record. His 1.96 G.A.A. and .933 save percentage led all goalies this season.

Earlier in the evening Price won his first Ted Lindsay Award.

Here are the full voting results:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)

1. Carey Price, MTL 144 (27-3-0)
2. Pekka Rinne, NSH 60 (1-15-10)
3. Devan Dubnyk, MIN 28 (1-4-11)
4. Braden Holtby, WSH 26 (0-7-5)
5. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 6 (1-0-1)
6. Corey Crawford, CHI 3 (0-1-0)
7. Andrew Hammond, OTT 1 (0-0-1)
Jonathan Quick, LAK 1 (0-0-1)
Cam Talbot, NYR 1 (0-0-1)

Here’s a list of the Vezina winners and second-place finishers since 1990:

Year Winner Runner-up
2015 Carey Price, Mtl. Pekka Rinne, Nsh.
2014 Tuukka Rask, Bos. Semyon Varlamov, Col.
2013 Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
2012 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR Jonathan Quick, L.A.
2011 Tim Thomas, Bos. Pekka Rinne, Nsh.
2010 Ryan Miller, Buf. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phx.
2009 Tim Thomas, Bos. Steve Mason, CBJ
2008 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Evgeni Nabokov, S.J.
2007 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Roberto Luongo, Van.
2006 Miikka Kiprusoff, Cgy. Martin Brodeur, N.J
2004 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Miikka Kiprusoff, Cgy.
2003 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Marty Turco, Dal.
2002 Jose Theodore, Mtl. Patrick Roy, Col.
2001 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Roman Cechmanek, Phi.
2000 Olaf Kolzig, Wsh. Roman Turek, St. L.
1999 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Curtis Joseph, Tor.
1998 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Martin Brodeur, N.J
1997 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Martin Brodeur, N.J
1996 Jim Carey, Wsh. Chris Osgood, Det.
1995 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Ed Belfour, Chi.
1994 Dominik Hasek, Buf. John Vanbiesbrouck, Fla.
1993 Ed Belfour, Chi. Tom Barrasso, Pit.
1992 Patrick Roy, Mtl. Kirk McLean, Van.
1991 Ed Belfour, Chi. Patrick Roy, Mtl.
1990 Patrick Roy, Mtl. Daren Puppa, Buf.