The Vancouver Canucks have crossed their fingers and placed goalie Jacob Markstrom on waivers, with the likely intention of assigning him to AHL Utica.
Markstrom, 24, joined Vancouver in the Roberto Luongo trade between the Canucks and Panthers. As it stands, he’s No. 3 on the team’s goaltending depth chart, behind Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack.
Why wouldn’t some team pick him up? Well, he’s not quite the hot prospect he once was in Florida. Also, he has a one-way contract that pays him $1.4 million this season, regardless of where he plays.
The move to waive Markstrom comes at the same time as a couple of Canucks youngsters that entered training camp as likely AHLers are making a case to stay with the big club. Forwards Hunter Shinkaruk and Nicklas Jensen each scored last night in Calgary. This after they each scored Tuesday versus San Jose.
Per the Vancouver Sun, coach Willie Desjardins said of Shinkaruk: “You have to give him credit. Goals are hard to come by in the league and he has been able to find the back of the net. Whenever you can do that it gives you a chance and that is what he has to do with his game. He has to be good around the net and he has done what he can and we’ll have to keep watching him.”
Desjardins had similar praise for Jensen: “He has got good speed, he can skate and he is a guy that whenever we have given him a chance he has responded. So we have to keep looking at him.”
Combine that with a lackluster performance last night from Zack Kassian — a player Desjardins had hoped would be a fit on the second line with Alex Burrows and Nick Bonino — and GM Jim Benning clearly wants to keep his options open.
Both Shinkaruk and Jensen can be sent to the AHL without waivers. To make a spot for one of them on the opening-day roster, the Canucks would have had to expose a player to waivers, which they’ve now done.