Newark — Jacob Markstrom is in the Prudential Center tonight, starting in net for the Calgary Flames against the New Jersey Devils. The 34-year-old goaltender is one of the many parts rumored to be available as the Flames continue retooling their roster. According to Markstrom, despite his no-move clause, the Swedish goaltender is leaving his fate in the hands of the Flames.
“It’s up to Calgary, what they want to do,” Markstrom tells Eric Francis of Sportsnet. “That’s what it comes down to. I don’t control it. Whatever direction they want to go, and what they want to do, I’m not going to force anything.”
Markstrom made it a point to say he hasn’t asked for a trade. However, general manager Craig Conroy has already traded two big pieces in Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zadorov. Markstrom could be one of the players that go next.
That’s good news for the Devils.
The bad news is, it’s already been well documented that Conroy isn’t going to ask Markstrom to waive his no-move clause unless it’s an offer they cannot refuse.
Translation, it’s going to be expensive.
Markstrom is in the midst of a bounce-back season recording a 15-13-2 record, 2.55 GAA, .913 SV%, and 13.8 GSAx. There’s little doubt that Markstrom would be an upgrade in the Devils’ net. It’s just a matter of meeting the Flames’ price that could end up costing New Jersey the likes of Alexander Holtz, or perhaps Dawson Mercer.
Markstrom has two years remaining on his contract with a $6 million AAV after this season. There’s no question that acquiring Markstrom is a big commitment due to the cost in term and dollars. However, the Devils’ goaltending has seemingly been unstable since the days of Cory Schneider. Perhaps, the commitment is just what the Devils need to move from playoff contender to legitimate threat.
There’s exactly one month until the NHL Trade Deadline. Maybe it gets done before then. However, there’s no rush on Calgary’s end of things and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any kind of deal punted to this summer.
If the Devils happen to engage, it’ll depend on how desperate they are between now and then to keep pucks out of the net.
Whereas before this deal seemed unlikely, things just became that much more possible.