The Vancouver Canucks made some offseason news on Wednesday, announcing they have signed 23-year-old goaltender Thatcher Demko to a two-year contract extension worth $1.05 million per season.
The 6-foot-4 netminder began full-time NHL employment in the second half of this season — though injuries limited him to nine games with the Canucks. The San Diego native looked good in the games he played though, posting an impressive .913 save percentage and a 4-3-1 record.
Demko will begin his first full NHL season next year as Jacob Markstrom’s backup, following three successful seasons in the AHL with the Utica Comets. He posted a .922 save percentage in 2017-18 and was named an AHL All-Star.
A second-round pick (36th overall) by the Canucks in 2014, Demko has long been seen as the team’s goaltender of the future. He has two seasons to prove himself, before which the Canucks’ hand could be forced by the Seattle expansion draft in 2021.
Markstrom is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.
Demko is the first of a long list of pending restricted free agents the Canucks will need to re-sign or cut loose before next season. That list includes Brock Boeser, who is in line for a big pay day.
Here’s the list of pending restricted free agents the Canucks have (with 2018-19 cap hit in parentheses):
The team also has two unrestricted free agents, both defencemen, in Alex Edler and Luke Schenn.
This kid from Cali is something special. ❌🚨❌ pic.twitter.com/rFYy6fHtGd
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 24, 2019