According to Craig Conroy, Calgary Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom hasn’t requested a trade

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
1 month ago
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The time leading up to the trade deadline in 2023-24 for then-rookie general manager Craig Conroy was stressful, filled with calls from other GMs about the asking prices for many of his players. One of the many names that was thrown around in the rumour mill, along with Elias Lindholm, Nikita Zadorov, Noah Hanifin, Blake Coleman, Andrew Mangiapane, and others, was Jacob Markstrom.
Several teams were linked with Markstrom in trade rumours, most prominently the New Jersey Devils. And after all the chatter, Markstrom remained with the Flames after the trade deadline passed. Markstrom’s situation has involved a tense press scrum where he admitted he wished things had been handled differently “from up top,” and a pair of end-of-season press conferences where neither Markstrom or Conroy said anything definitive about Markstrom’s future with the club.
According to an interview by Sportsnet’s Eric Francis with Conroy from earlier this week, Markstrom still has not requested a trade from the Flames, and there is no “ultimatum” to move the 34-year-old netminder for any reason. Of course, that doesn’t mean calls won’t be fielded by the Calgary front office team or that a move at the draft isn’t possible, especially considering that Dustin Wolf looks primed and ready to go for a full-time spot in the NHL tandem, but as of now, Markstrom still has not requested to be moved for any reason.
“He’s never come and said he wants out,” Conroy said to Francis. “That’s never been mentioned. He’s never said that.”
Markstrom is being paid $6 million for the next two seasons, putting him at 36 years old when his contract expires. There are certainly questions as to why the Flames would want to keep him around other than the mentorship of the still relatively young Wolf, but with his cap hit and the possible return of young players, prospects, and draft picks, a former Vezina contender and one of the best-performing goalies in 2023-24 could fetch, Conroy would be remiss not to consider it heavily.
Last season, Markstrom finished with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. However, the real work was done in the goals saved above expected (GSAx) category, where he finished third in the NHL among all goaltenders behind only Connor Hellebuyck (39.35) and Jordan Binnington (29.74) with 28.93 according to Evolving-Hockey.
It’s rather unfortunate that the organization and the team can’t be in a better position for Markstrom at this point in his career. He has done plenty for the Flames organization and the fans to deserve a shot at a Stanley Cup, and the fact that he still has not requested to be moved despite that is commendable. From the sound of it, there doesn’t appear to be any urgency from Conroy and his staff (and there shouldn’t be), but while his value is at a high point, it would be prudent to continue searching for a strong package that could move him to a contender, both for the team and for the player’s sake. Dealing with trade rumours is hard for any professional athlete, and Markstrom has handled this part of the business with as much grace as anyone can expect him to. Now, it’s about helping the team while also helping the player.

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