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FlamesNation Mailbag: Just shy of three weeks out from the 2024 NHL Draft

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
The 2024 NHL Draft is just shy of three weeks away! The Calgary Flames have many, many draft selections, and they also have some players that have found their way back into trade discussions in the rumour mill.
As we bide our time for the draft, let’s dive into the mailbag!
Do I think a Jacob Markstrom trade is possible? Yes.
Do I think it could land the Flames a top-16 pick? I’m not entirely sure. And it’s more about this being a weird and unique situation than about Markstrom’s value on its own.
Let me explain a bit:
  • The positives: Markstrom is a savvy veteran goaltender who has two years remaining with $6 million. (He’s cost-controlled.) He’s had stronger numbers in each of the past two seasons, but he’s had positive Goals Above Replacement metrics (via Evolving-Hockey’s numbers) in each of his four seasons with the Flames and each of his past nine seasons overall. When Markstrom’s good, he’s nearly Vezina good. And when he’s bad, he’s at least halfway decent. If you have a team that struggles defensively, he can keep your team’s head above water. If you have average defence, he can make your team look really good.
  • The negatives: I really like Markstrom, but you can’t ignore the occasional rough spots in his game or the injuries that have crept in over the past few seasons. While Markstrom’s generally quite good, he’s prone to games that get completely away from him – and often based on bad reads or him playing a puck too aggressively. In terms of injuries, Markstrom was out for three separate stretches of games in 2023-24.
Can Markstrom provide a team with a lot of value? Definitely. Is he worth trading for? Sure! But Markstrom, as a goaltender, is a bit of a unicorn in terms of how he plays and his individual history. At some point, the wheels may fall off for him in terms of injuries or his ability to steal games for his team. He’s a hard player to project as a result.
And even if you had a clear projection of his game, it’s hard to find a trade value comparable. If you look back to the beginning of 2019, the majority of goaltenders with term traded involved teams getting out from under large deals, and the only real comparable situation to this one would be something like Minnesota getting Marc-Andre Fleury from Chicago in exchange for a conditional second-round pick – Fleury had a year left on his deal at the time and was older than Markstrom is now, but Fleury also had a much stronger playoff track record than Markstrom does.
This is to say: I could easily see a Markstrom trade happening, but I don’t know what a “fair” trade looks like.
Having established that I don’t know what a “fair” deal is for Markstrom, trading Markstrom, a late first-rounder and a second-rounder in exchange for the 10th overall pick feels too hefty. If you plug all the picks into PuckPedia’s pick value calculator, swapping those three assets for 10th overall is concluding that Markstrom is worth a second-round pick to equalize the values within the trade. If you’re the Flames, you’d probably prefer to (a) get more for Markstrom and (b) give up fewer assets if you’re going to move up in the first round.
Barring anything else, if the Flames trade Jacob Markstrom – and don’t get a goalie back in the trade – then I would surmise that the NHL tandem would be Dan Vladar and Dustin Wolf and the AHL tandem would be newcomer Waltteri Ignatjew and… somebody! I suspect that the Flames would be searching for a “quad-A” goalie to be the number three behind Vladar and Wolf, as throwing Ignatjew into the deep end without a tandem-mate with some experience seems like it would be a lot to ask of him.
We’ll see what happens.
The qualifying offer deadline is June 30, so I wouldn’t expect to hear very much until then. The business of preparing for an extremely important NHL Draft on June 28 & 29 is going to dominate the Flames’ hockey operations department until then.
Typically, we start seeing re-signings and things start trickling in a week or so after qualifying offers go out.
I would not, because that’s a very long commute from where I live.
Got a question for a future mailbag? Contact Ryan on Twitter/X at @RyanNPike or e-mail him at Ryan [at] TheNationNetwork.com! (Make sure you put Mailbag in the subject line!)

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