The Jacob Markstrom trade is a win for the Calgary Flames

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 month ago
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The Calgary Flames traded Jacob Markstrom to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a 2025 first-round pick and defenceman Kevin Bahl and as per usual, there is a mixed reaction from the fan base on the trade. When you look at the situation and take into consideration all the elements that went into this trade, it was a good deal for the Flames. Here are some reasons why Craig Conroy did well in this deal.

Markstrom held all the power 

Jacob Markstrom was in control of this situation all along as he held a no movement clause in his contract he signed with the Flames back in 2020. Because of that, he essentially got to decide where he wanted to go, and it was clear New Jersey was that destination. The Flames weren’t able to work with the entire league to get a deal done which limited the return.
The fact they were able to get a first-round pick and a soon to be 24-year-old defenceman with second pairing upside is a solid return knowing that there was not a bidding war for Markstrom’s services.

Goalies don’t go for much on the trade market

A reality in the NHL is that 34-year-old goaltenders don’t have a lot of value on the trade market. Over the last five years, there has only been one goalie to fetch a 1st round pick in a trade. That was Darcy Kuemper in 2021 when the Colorado Avalanche traded a first-round pick, a third-round pick and Conor Timmins to the Arizona Coyotes for Kuemper. That’s it.
The fact the Flames were able to get what they did in return for Markstrom is an impressive piece of business by Craig Conroy.

Markstrom is inconsistent

The Flames made a smart decision trading Markstrom coming off a successful 2023-24 campaign because of his inconsistent play throughout his time in Calgary.
Markstrom played great in the 2021-22 and 2023-24 seasons where he was a Vezina candidate and one of the better goalies in the NHL.
But then there was the pandemic shortened 2020-21 and the 2022-23 seasons where you could make the argument that Markstrom was one of the main reasons, if not the reason, they missed the playoffs in those years. Holding on to Markstrom for the 2024-25 campaign would have been a huge risk for the Flames and Markstrom’s trade value.

They got a potential top four defenceman AND a first-round pick

Two elements that were missing from the Flames blueline is size and toughness. Especially after losing Erik Gudbranson and Nikita Zadorov in the last two seasons. They get both of those qualities in Kevin Bahl.
Bahl is a 6’6″, 230 pound, rugged, left shot defenceman who was playing a bottom pair role with the New Jersey Devils. Bahl is turning 24 years old on June 27. He strikes me as a guy who could potentially push for a top four role on the Flames in the near future. Especially when you look at the Flames defence as currently constructed. Could he turn into a Jamie Oleksiak style of player? If he does, then this trade should be considered a win for the Flames.
On top of Bahl, the Flames acquired a 2025 first round pick and added $3.075 million of cap space. They can use the pick at the 2025 draft, or they can use it as a trade chip in acquiring a younger NHL player. They could take on a bad contract in exchange for a sweetener or use the cap space to sign a free agent. This move opens up a lot of possibilities for the Flames.
I personally think this trade is a win for both the Flames and the Devils. The Flames get a first-round pick, cap space, and a soon to be 24-year-old defenceman. The Devils get a goalie which they desperately needed. This trade should be viewed in a more positive light than it’s being portrayed online by Flames fans.

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