Jim Benning is trying to figure out what he’s got in Jacob Markstrom.
The Canucks GM was in Utica this past week to watch Vancouver’s AHL team, the Comets, advance to the Western Conference Finals, in which they’ll take on the Grand Rapids Griffins (featuring Dylan Larkin).
On Wednesday, Benning saw another good AHL outing for Markstrom, who stopped 35 shots in a 1-0 Game 7 shutout win over Oklahoma City. The 25-year-old now has a .930 save percentage in 12 playoff games this year. His save percentage was .934 during the regular season, earning him second-team all-star honors.
But whether Markstrom can succeed in the NHL is still to be determined. He hasn’t so far, with an .896 save percentage in 50 games with the Canucks and Panthers.
“That’s part of why I’m down here now — to get a good look at Jacob Markstrom and see where he fits in,” Benning told the Vancouver Sun. “That’s what I’m trying to figure out right now. He showed me a lot last night, playing a real good game in a high-pressure situation.”
If Benning believes Markstrom is capable of backing up Ryan Miller next season, it likely means that Eddie Lack, one year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, will be traded.
If not, Benning will try and trade Markstrom. (Though that may be easier said than done.)