The Jacob Markstrom sweepstakes has a winner. The top goalie on the free agent market opted not to re-sign with the Vancouver Canucks but instead to join the rival Calgary Flames. The Flames have announced that they have agreed to terms with Markstrom on a six-year, $36MM contract. TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds that Markstrom’s deal carries a full No-Movement Clause.
Markstrom, 30, picked a good time to have a career year. In a market with numerous teams needing a new starting goalie, Markstrom was the consensus top option after posting a .918 save percentage and .535 winning percentage. Markstrom finished fourth in the Vezina Trophy voting for the best goalie in the league and was voted the Canucks’ team MVP. In a contract year, he established himself as a legitimate long-term starter.
What resulted was a bidding war for the netminder. Even after proclaiming all year that re-signing Markstrom was a priority, Vancouver could not keep up with rivals Calgary and Edmonton, opting instead to sign Braden Holtby to a short-term deal. Edmonton eventually fell out of the race as well and have yet to find a solution in net.
Calgary, who failed to come to terms on an extension with Cam Talbot prior to free agency opening, end up upgrading the position with Markstrom. David Rittich had failed to prove that he could be relied upon as a starter and will now settle into a backup role, if he is not traded away that is. Markstrom will add some much needed security on the back end for the Flames, who could lose defensemen T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic to free agency.