The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a three-year contract extension worth an average of $3.67 million per season.
“Jacob is a talented, competitive goaltender with size and a proven ability to make big saves at crucial moments in a game,” said Jim Benning in a media release. “He set career highs in several statistical categories last season and two years ago led the Comets to their first Calder Cup Final. He’s motivated and wants to help his team win. We’re excited to have Jacob competing in a Canucks uniform for years to come.”
Markstrom had an impressive year last season for the Canucks, his first full season in the NHL. Starting 30 games behind a depleted Canucks lineup, Markstrom posted a record of 13-14-4 with a goals against average of 2.73 and a .915 save percentage.
Markstrom silenced critics that wondered aloud about his ability to perform at the NHL level before last season, despite leading the Utica Comets to a Calder Cup Finals appearance in 2014-15.
Jacob Markstom has signed a three-year contract extension with the #Canucks!
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) July 7, 2016
The 26-year-old from Gavle, Sweden appeared to be on the fast track to becoming an NHL starter earlier in his career, but faltered once given an opportunity in Florida. He was eventually given up on by the Panthers, and was acquired by Vancouver in the Roberto Luongo trade.
This move all but cements the fact that Markstrom will take over as the team’s #1 goalie in a year’s time when Ryan Miller’s contract expires.
The three-year term of the contract makes sense for the Canucks, as it will keep him locked up until he’s 30. Top prospect Thatcher Demko is waiting in the wings, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to take over the top job for at least two more years, and that’s being optimistic.
As for the cap hit, Markstrom’s contract is in line with other goaltenders with similar accomplishments that signed before last season. Jake Allen signed a four-year contract worth $4.35 million per season, Martin Jones signed a three-year deal worth $3 million per season, and Eddie Lack signed a two-year deal worth $2.75 million.
James Reimer, who is two years older than Markstrom, recently signed a five-year extension worth $3.4 million per season with the Florida Panthers.
Markstrom’s cap hit is the 27th highest in the NHL among goalies.
It will be interesting to see how the team handles the 6-foot-6 heir apparent this season. Will Markstrom be relegated to a back-up role, or will he be given the opportunity to take over the starting job?
We’ll soon find out.