Friedman: Flames and Devils had ‘legit conversations’ about Jacob Markstrom

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
As we’ve mentioned here and there, folks, the Calgary Flames are shaping up to be a central team in the NHL’s trade talks leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. On Saturday’s edition of Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman discussed some apparent trade discussions between the Flames and the New Jersey Devils regarding starting netminder Jacob Markstrom.
Here’s Friedman:
“We’re gonna lead with off with Jacob Markstrom. Now, the Flames and the Devils played earlier this week. The Flames beat them. And from what I understand, the two teams are not commenting, in the lead-up to that game the two teams had legit conversations about the Calgary goalie. Now, there’s a couple things I want to make clear here. Number one: I don’t know that this was ever taken to Markstrom, so I don’t know if he got involved, but I do think the two teams talked about it quite seriously and I think there were a couple of issues. One of course is the package it would take to get him, and the other was retention. Now, is it still possible? I just heard it was really tough to do, really difficult, and it stopped in its tracks. But the two sides did talk. I believe there were some serious conversations, and we’ll see if it picks up, although it just sounds today, Ron, like it’s unlikely.”
Friedman also shouted out Eric Francis for his work on the current road trip, as Francis had lengthy one-on-one chats with Markstrom and Noah Hanifin. (Check ’em out!)
Markstrom, 34, is in the fourth year of a six year deal that carries a $6 million cap hit and includes a full no-move clause. That means that Markstrom holds the hammer regarding where he plays until the end of the 2025-26 season. Unless he wants to move somewhere, he simply won’t.
The Flames have gotten a lot of attention from fans, pundits and prognosticators for their bevy of pending unrestricted free agents – defenders Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin keep emerging in discussions of trade rumours – but Markstrom is a unique animal: he’s signed for a few years yet, so he provides an acquiring team with both a bit of cost certainty… and potentially some very high-level goaltending.
While Markstrom’s alternated between really strong play and looking a bit off during his four seasons in Calgary, he’s been very good this season (and is a couple years removed from being the Vezina Trophy runner-up in 2021-22). In 32 games this season, Markstrom has gone 17-13-2 with a 2.54 goals against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts. He’s also among the NHL’s leaders in the Goals Saved Above Expected metric.
The Flames close out their eastern road trip on Monday night against the New York Rangers. The 2023-24 trade deadline is 1 p.m. MT on Friday, March 8.

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