Barn Burner: What the Jacob Markstrom injury means for the Calgary Flames goaltending down the stretch

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Mackenzie
4 months ago
On Wednesday’s episode of Barn Burner. Boomer, Pinder, and Rhett had their good buddy Jamie McLennan on the show to talk about what the goaltending situation could look like for the Flames after Jacob Markstrom went down with a lower body injury on Tuesday.
McLennan: “Listen, I think there’s an opportunity here for them to see what they have internally. That’s what they’ve been doing with some young players. There’s no reason why they can’t do that with Jacob Markstrom being banged up… I think they have an idea of what Vladar is. Now they got to see what Wolf is. You might give him a run or you might go back and forth and have them stagger these starts until Markstrom is available and then you sort it out at that point.”
Dustin Wolf was recalled from the Calgary Wranglers as a result of the Markstrom injury and replaced Dan Vladar in the third period of Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Wolf stopped all three shots he faced in the frame.
Throughout his playing career, Wolf has excelled at every level. In his WHL days with the Everett Silvertips, he won the CHL Goaltender of the Year. At the AHL level, Wolf has been one of the most dominant players in the league for the last couple of seasons now. In those years, he has won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Award for Outstanding goalie two consecutive times while taking home the league MVP for his efforts in 2023. McLennan believes that with his impressive resume, he deserves to be rewarded by the Flames.
“I think you do need to get some starts for Wolf at the NHL level. Not only just for yourself but for the player. He’s been a hell of a player at the AHL level. To me, he’s too good for the AHL so let’s just see what he is as an NHL player.” said McLennan. “From a reward standpoint, if you had a forward that was MVP of the league two years in a  row, you’d be banging down the door to make sure he was in the NHL. I think you have to do that with Wolf.”
“Let’s just say Markstrom doesn’t play again. Maybe this is an injury that lingers and he just doesn’t play.” Boomer hypothesized. “If we see six, seven, eight starts the rest of the way for Wolf and he doesn’t perform particularly well, that can’t alter your plane in the offseason for a Markstrom trade can it?”
“I don’t think so. I think what it does is maybe alter your plans for that individual player.” McLennan responded. “Let’s say he plays seven games the rest of the season and he’s just okay. I still think you give him every opportunity after having a strong offseason of working out and one more year of maturation. It’ll give him an opportunity to hit the ground running next year. I don’t think you make the decision on next years team based on the stretch run right now.”
While Wolf’s numbers might have struggled this year at the NHL level, posting a 3.69 goals against average and a 0.880 save percentage so far, Pinder wonders when it’s appropriate to start really looking at Wolf and take his numbers meaningfully.
“How many years if you’re a goalie coach are you saying ‘we’re going to groom you into a number one”? asked Pinder.
McLennan: “It’s two to three years easily. He has to make the NHL, he has to show that he can stay, he has to develop the experience. Can he play 30 games? Can he play 40? Can he play 50? That takes all time from a maturation standpoint. Physically and mentally.”
With Jacob Markstrom’s absence currently listed as day-to-day, Flames fans might get a couple of different looks between the pipes over the next couple of games, starting with the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
Watch Wednesday’s episode in full here:

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