Friedman: ‘I just wonder how much we’re going to see (Jacob) Markstrom from here on in’

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
For the past two games, the Calgary Flames’ goaltending tandem has been backup Dan Vladar and rookie Dustin Wolf. On Friday’s edition of the 32 Thoughts podcast with Jeff Marek, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pondered how much the Flames will be utilizing starting netminder Jacob Markstrom for the remainder of the season.
Here’s Friedman:
Markstrom, there’s going to be a good documentary on Markstrom, I think, just ‘cause of everything that kind of happened. The Flames have maintained the New Jersey thing was never close and the offer was not good enough. We’ve heard different things. I don’t want to re-litigate it. But, you know, Markstrom’s been hurt, this is just me talking, but I’m wondering how much we’re going to see him the rest of the season. You can’t afford him to get hurt any more seriously and effect you in the summer.
Friedman discussed the significance of the Flames’ big win on Thursday over Vegas, then returned to the topic of Markstrom briefly.
But I just wonder how much we’re going to see Markstrom from here on in. You’ve got to see Wolf. Vladar’s been struggling a bit. So, I’m really curious to see: do they put him in the bubble wrap a little bit here and figure out until whatever happens in the summer?
We’re not insiders, so we’re not going to wax poetic on how close Markstrom was or wasn’t to departing the Flames. But he turned 34 in January and he’s missed a decent amount of time with the Flames this season.
  • 2 games in November with an upper body injury
  • 1 game in November with an illness
  • 7 games in December with a fractured finger
  • 3 games in January with a lower body injury
  • 2 games in March (so far) with his ongoing lower body injury
All-told, that’s 15 games of the Flames’ 66 outings to date due to various injuries. And we’re not going to blame Markstrom for getting hurt – injuries happen to everybody – but it’s not unreasonable to have more injury concerns about somebody who’s 34 than somebody who’s much younger than that.
Markstrom’s been flat-out excellent when he’s played for the Flames this season. Anybody who tells you otherwise probably shouldn’t be listened to seriously, because Markstrom papered over a lot of issues the Flames had defensively early on, and he’s earned his status as one of the NHL’s leaders in the “goals saved above expected” advanced metric. He’s probably a good bet to get some Vezina Trophy and year-end All-Star votes.
But the reason why Wolf has gotten as much of a look at the NHL level this season is largely because Markstrom’s been unavailable for chunks of the season. Thursday’s win over Vegas was Wolf’s 17th game on the Flames’ lineup card this season – emergency backup Dustin Nickel got the other game – and 14 of those games dressed were because Markstrom wasn’t able to go.
Markstrom is a superb hockey player who’s been very important to the Flames this season (and for the past few seasons). But he’s also an asset. And as the Flames delve into their retooling period in earnest this off-season, it does make sense that they would be wanting to protect a valuable asset as much as they can right now.
The Flames are back in action on Saturday night when they host the Montreal Canadiens.
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