The Canucks and goaltender Jacob Markstrom have started discussions regarding a contract extension, assistant GM John Weisbrod told Sportsnet 650 (audio link). The 29-year-old has posted a .916 save percentage through 34 starts this season which would be the best mark of his career. That has helped propel Vancouver into a battle for first place in the Pacific Division and Markstrom to an All-Star Game appearance. Accordingly, he’ll be looking for a sizable increase on his current $3.67MM AAV. Weisbrod noted that they’re hoping to get something done down the stretch but that it wouldn’t be a significant concern if talks draw out into the summer and closer to the opening of free agency in July.
More from the Western Conference:
- The Wild should have center Mikko Koivu back in the lineup tomorrow against Detroit, notes Sarah McLellan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Twitter link). The captain has missed the last two games due to an illness. As he remained on the active roster while being out, Minnesota won’t have to make any corresponding roster moves. Meanwhile, McLellan adds that defenseman Brad Hunt (who is also dealing with an illness and has missed the last five games) is still getting back to full strength which makes it unlikely that he’ll return.
- While the Oilers appear to be making progress on a new contract for pending UFA winger Zack Kassian, GM Ken Holland told Sportsnet’s Mark Spector that it’s looking like a new deal for pending RFA defenseman Darnell Nurse will likely be done in the offseason. Nurse is in the final season of his bridge contract, one that carries a $3.2MM AAV and salary which will serve as his qualifying offer next summer. Considering his improvements over that stretch, it’s possible that his next deal could be close to doubling his current price tag after factoring in his eligibility for salary arbitration.