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Report: Devils Make Jacob Markstrom No.1 Priority Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline

Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald has reportedly made Jacob Markstrom his No.1 priority, could be willing to wait for a trade in the summer.



New Jersey Devils

According to a new report, the New Jersey Devils have made Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom their No.1 priority.

That might sound like stating the obvious. However, there have been quite a few layers in this saga, including one that made it sound like any potential Markstrom deal is off the table.

On the latest Sportsnet Saturday Headlines, insider Elliotte Friedman confirmed that report to be true and is part of the Swedish goaltender’s frustration with the Flames.

“I believe (Markstrom) is upset that the Flames went to him and told him about the possibility of a deal with New Jersey,” Friedman explained. “He indicated he would be willing to consider going there. And then, the plans changed. That deal obviously never happened. Then at some point, Markstrom was informed that the Flames preferred to keep him because he was playing great and the team was going well. I think that bothered him. I’m not speaking for him, but I’m under the impression that because he was told he could go, he kind of wished he’d never been told he could go if the plan was going to be not to trade him.”

Now that Markstrom’s frustration has seemingly boiled over, the Devils remain steadfast in acquiring him to shore up their inconsistent goaltending. In fact, if it doesn’t happen this week, general manager Tom Fitzgerald‘s pursuit of Markstrom could continue into the summer.

“Another part of this is I believe the Devils have identified Markstrom as their No.1 target. If it doesn’t happen before the deadline, I’ve heard — and they won’t comment either, it’s not their player — but I have heard they’re prepared to wait into the summer, the draft, whenever, to revisit a potential Markstrom trade. So if the Devils don’t acquire another goalie with term next week, I think you’ll understand why.”

The fact that this trade hasn’t happened yet is stunning. The Devils and Flames were quite close, and now New Jersey is reportedly willing to make the deal without Calgary needing to retain any of Markstrom’s salary.

The Devils’ prioritizing Markstrom makes sense. With two years remaining on his contract after this season, Markstrom certainly would drop the question mark that is New Jersey’s goaltending. Plus, he can play in tandem with Nico Daws in a mentor role. And even though this season hasn’t gone as planned, there’s still a good — even great — team in the Devils. They just need to patch a few weaknesses. Markstrom certainly would help.

Other goaltenders with term that the Devils could potentially acquire are Elvis Merzlikins, John Gibson, Jake Allen, and might we add Linus Ullmark. However, it sounds like it’s all systems go for Markstrom. With less than a week to go to the NHL Trade Deadline, we’ll see where this goes. And if it doesn’t the door remains open to revisit the deal in the summer.

Although, I’m sure you’d like to see this saga come to an end sooner rather than later.

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