How does Jacob Markstrom measure up against the best goalies in Flames history?

Photo credit:Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
On Monday afternoon, Calgary Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom hit a couple impressive franchise milestones. Markstrom made his 200th appearance in the Flames net, becoming just the sixth goalie to do so. He also captured his 100th win with the club, becoming the fifth goalie to do that.
Now that Markstrom has brought himself into the conversation with some of the franchise’s goaltending greats, how does he measure up against them?
The other five goalies who have played 200 or more times for the Flames franchise are Phil Myre, Dan Bouchard, Reggie Lemelin, Mike Vernon and Miikka Kiprusoff. The 100 win club includes Lemelin, Bouchard, Vernon and Kiprusoff.

Phil Myre

One of the two goaltenders selected by the Flames in the 1972 expansion draft, Myre began as Atlanta’s starter but over time he was gradually morphed into a 1B option in net. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues midway through the 1977-78 season as part of a seven component deal that landed the Flames the services of Bob MacMillan, Dick Redmond, Yves Belanger and a 1979 second-rounder. (Curt Bennett and Barry Gibbs headed to Missouri alongside Myre.)
Myre went 76-95-32 with a 3.21 goals against average, .893 save percentage and 11 shutouts over 211 games with the Flames in the regular season, but had just one win in five playoff games.

Dan Bouchard

The other goaltender selected by the Flames in the 1972 expansion draft, Bouchard began as the backup behind Myre but gradually matured into a capable 1A and, eventually undisputed starter after Myre’s departure. Like Myre, Bouchard also struggled to have playoff success and he was swapped to Quebec midway through the Flames’ first season in Calgary in exchange for Jamie Hislop.
Bouchard went 168-139-75 with a 3.04 goals against average, .899 save percentage and 20 shutouts over 398 games with the Flames in the regular season, but had just one win in 12 playoff games.

Reggie Lemelin

Added as a free agent signing in 1978’s off-season after departing the Flyers organization, Lemelin had cups of coffee with Atlanta but emerged as a pretty good young netminder after the club moved to Calgary. He eventually became the team’s go-to starter in the mid-’80s, holding onto that gig until losing it to rookie Mike Vernon in the lead-up to the 1986 playoffs. He was their netminder when they won the Stanley Cup in 1989. He ended up departing the organization as a free agent in the 1987 off-season.
Lemelin went 144-99-46 with a 3.67 goals against average, .884 save percentage and six shutouts over 323 games with the Flames in the regular season, and won 11 of 31 playoff appearances. He also finished top three in Vezina Trophy voting twice with the Flames (in 1983-84 and 1984-85).

Mike Vernon

The Flames spent their entire time in Atlanta trying to draft and develop a goaltender. It finally worked after their relocation. Vernon was a local kid drafted in the third round in 1981, and he essentially forced his way onto the NHL roster during a call-up in 1985-86. A strong run of games, notably against the Jets, earned him the net to start the playoffs, the Jets were the Flames’ first-round opponent, and Vernon ended up leading them to the Cup Final. Vernon was traded by the Flames to Detroit in the 1994 off-season, then returned via another trade during the 2000 off-season. He retired as a Flame.
Vernon went 262-188-57 with a 3.27 goals against average, .883 save percentage and 13 shutouts over 527 games with the Flames in the regular season, and won 43 of 81 playoff appearances. In addition to his 1989 Cup ring, he was voted as a second team all-star in 1988-89 and was the runner-up in Vezina Trophy voting that year as well.

Miikka Kiprusoff

Formerly the third-string goalie in San Jose – behind Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala – this obscure Finnish netminder was acquired by the Flames during the 2003-04 season for a second-round pick. He led the Flames to win a win of the 2004 Stanley Cup crown, and basically obliterated the club’s record books before retiring in 2013.
Kiprusoff went 305-192-68 with a 2.46 goals against average, .913 save percentage and 41 shutouts over 576 games with the Flames in the regular season, and won 13 of 52 playoff appearances. Kiprusoff won the Jennings and Vezina trophies in 2005-06 and was also voted a first team all-star and a finalist for the Hart Trophy that season. He was a Vezina finalist in two other seasons with the Flames (2003-04 and 2006-07).

Jacob Markstrom

Signed as a free agent in the 2020 off-season, Markstrom has alternated between Vezina calibre netminding and more challenging seasons over four years with the Flames. He has two seasons remaining on his current deal.
Markstrom has gone 100-70-25 with a 2.59 goals against average, .908 save percentage and 15 shutouts over 200 games with the Flames in the regular season, and won five of 12 playoff appearances. He was a Vezina finalist in 2021-22 and voted a second team all-star that season.

How they measure up

It’s natural to rush to the stats to compare and contrast. but goalie stats across eras are basically useless for the sake of comparison because the position has changed so much over the years. (Heck, if you look at photos of Vernon and Kiprusoff, they look like they’re playing completely different roles based on how much the padding changed.)
Personally, I look at goalie impact with two admittedly arbitrary measures: individual excellence relative to the league, and playoff success. Kiprusoff has the franchise’s only Vezina. Vernon won the franchise’s only Stanley Cup. By definition, Markstrom ranks behind both of those guys. But when you look at his level of success and factor in that he just reached the 200 game mark, he compares very favourably with Lemelin.
Where do you think Markstrom ranks among the Flames franchise’s best goaltenders? Let us know in the comments!
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