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Fans React to Potential Jacob Markstrom Devils Trade

In an X (formerly Twitter) poll, fans reacted to a potential Devils trade with the Flames for goaltender Jacob Markstrom which stirred up quite the debate.



New Jersey Devils
The Devils are reportedly frontrunners to acquire the 34-year-old All-Star goaltender. // Credit: Calgary Hockey Now

By now you know how involved General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is in a potential New Jersey Devils trade for Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom. The Swedish netminder seemingly checks all the boxes. He’s an All-Star, former Vezina Trophy nominee, and provides above average goaltending — even last season on a below average Flames team. Yet, when polling the opinion of fans, a Devils trade for Markstrom was seemingly not in favor, at least not one involving the 10th overall selection at the 2024 NHL Draft.

After nearly 3,400 votes by Devils fans, 60.5% of them said a Devils trade involving the 10th overall pick in exchange for Markstrom at 50% retained salary was not one they would make if they were Tom Fitzgerald.

At 50% retained salary, Markstrom would come to the Devils at just a $3 million cap hit, and New Jersey would control him for the next two seasons.

One of the most common arguments from fans on why Fitzgerald should not pull the trigger on a Devils trade for Markstrom was because of his age.

“Moving the 10th overall pick for a 34-year-old goalie isn’t worth it,” one Devils fan said. Many other fans had a similar response.

Another popular argument was the cost control of the asset. Devils fans view the 10th overall selection as a potential asset that New Jersey will have control over until said player is no longer a restricted free agent. That means if the Devils draft a player at 1oth overall, they could control the player through his 27th birthday as a restricted free agent until then, barring a situation where the team and/or player opt out of the players’ rights.

Others claimed that instead of spending the asset on the likes of Markstrom, aim higher and go for Boston Bruins goaltender, Linus Ullmark, or Nashville Predators netminder, Juuse Saros.

However, the latter is trending more toward staying in Nashville.

The former is certainly not out of the question, as Fitzgerald has reportedly renewed his interest in the 2023 Vezina Trophy winner.

Then there were the fans who said they wouldn’t do the trade, but if Calgary added more, perhaps former Devils forwards Blake Coleman or Yegor Sharangovich, they would. Yet, that seems more like playing GM mode in EA Sports NHL 24.

The 39.5% of people who said the Devils SHOULD make the trade didn’t go down without a fight.

Many cited the Devils’ well below average goaltending last season. The Devils’ save percentage between Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid, Nico Daws, Jake Allen, and Kaapo Kahkonen was a dreadful .886%, well below the league average .898%. A common belief is that if the Devils received just the league average in their crease, they’d be a playoff team — no questions asked. In citing the Devils’ below average performance in goal last season, fans also pointed out Markstrom’s above average statistics, posting a 2.78 GAA and .905 SV%, while also accruing an NHL ninth-best 13.7 goals saved above expected last season.

Markstrom’s 2022-23 was seemingly a struggle, but he was a top-three goaltender in 2021-22, and his history supports that 2022-23 was the outlier.

Another strong arguement for trading the pick in exchange for Markstrom is the history of the 10th overall pick. In the last 60 years, although this fan missed a few additional names, there are seemingly more misses than there are hits.

Flames fans even chimed in on the poll and were seemingly stunned at the proposition that there were more Devils fans who wouldn’t make the deal. Said Flames fans explained Markstrom was one of the main reasons why Calgary stayed in the playoff hunt before they were ultimately eliminated — citing Markstrom as their MVP.

Devils fans promptly responded with Markstrom’s body of work after the trade deadline, where he accrued a 1-7-0 record in eight games with a lowly .870 SV%. It’s fair to wonder, however, how much his off-ice relationship with Calgary effected his on-ice performance. Markstrom was pretty outward with his displeasure on how the Flames handled the potential Devils trade before the deadline which became quite public.

Devils fans have clamored for a goaltending upgrade ever since the Cory Schneider era ended in New Jersey. Some are worried the Markstrom contract could end up similar to Corey Crawford or Jonathan Bernier who either never played for the team, or did but dressed very little. Whereas others see Markstrom as an opportunity to help the Devils recapture their 2022-23 selves.

3,400 votes is just but a snippet of the Devils’ fan base.  Regardless of the fans opinion, Fitzgerald has his own mindset on how to handle the Devils’ goaltending situation. A quarter of the way through the Stanley Cup Final, we could soon see how this all plays out.

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