With the impressive play of Jacob Markstrom this season, the Vancouver Canucks have an interesting conundrum to face as the team suddenly may have themselves too much goaltending depth. The 29-year-old Markstrom has had another solid season as the Canucks’ starting goaltender, posting a winning record of 28-22-9 on a losing team, while posting a 2.76 GAA and a .913 save percentage.
However, Markstrom’s solid play raises some questions, according to the Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Johnston, who suggests that with his improved play, the team might want to consider trading from strength and consider moving top goaltending prospect Thatcher Demko this off-season. With another franchise goaltender in waiting with 19-year-old Michael DiPietro ready to go pro next season, the team could move Demko without significant loss. Demko has played in seven NHL games, and has played extremely well in five of those games. However, because of two poor outings, his .903 save percentage doesn’t look as impressive.
Regardless, the 23-year-old Demko would be high in demand from teams looking for a future franchise goaltender. Johnston suggests it’s a similar situation to when the team opted to trade goaltender Cory Schneider back in 2013 for a first-round pick, which eventually turned out to be Bo Horvat.
- The Athletic’s Harman Dayal (subscription required) writes that Vancouver should consider moving defenseman Ben Hutton. The 25-year-old blue liner seems to have returned to the form he showed in an impressive rookie year back in the 2015-16 season. After two seasons of struggles, Hutton has once again proven to be a top-four defenseman. Regardless, Dayal suggests that the 25-year-old’s success might be the best the team will ever see and they might be better off moving on from him now while his value is at its highest.
- The Canucks are close to signing defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year contract extension, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman late last night on Hockey Night in Canada. Schenn, who came over to the Canucks in a January swap with the Anaheim Ducks for Michael Del Zotto, has fared well, showing energy and becoming a quick fan favorite in his 15 games with Vancouver. Schenn, who fell out of favor in Anaheim, is currently finishing out a one-year, $800K deal that he signed with the Ducks last offseason.
- In the same commentary, Friedman also confirmed rumors that University of Michigan forward William Lockwood has told the Canucks that he intends to return to college for his senior year. The 20-year-old had a solid year with the Wolverines as he tallied 16 goals and 31 points in 36 games last season. The 2016 third-round pick out of Michigan could opt to become a unrestricted free agent at this point next season.