The Calgary Flames struck in a big way on the first official day of the NHL free agency on Friday, signing goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom away from the Pacific Division-rival Vancouver Canucks with a six-year contract, the Flames announced.
The team said the deal includes an average annual value of $6 million, meaning the signing is a $36 million investment in the 10-year veteran netminder.
Markstrom, 30, is coming off arguably the best season of his career, which included his first All-Star berth. In his third season as the top starter in Vancouver, after being primarily a backup goalie in his first seven seasons, Markstrom went 23-16-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average in 43 starts.
Calgary, which finished one point ahead of Vancouver in the Pacific Divsion, split goalie duties between Cam Talbot and David Rittich during the regular season, with Talbot taking over in the playoffs. Talbot left the Flames for the Minnesota Wild on Friday on a three-year, $11 million deal.
In the postseason, Markstrom backstopped the Canucks to a pair of series wins over Minnesota and defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis before injuring his groin late in the Western Conference semifinals against Vegas, a series that ended in a Game 7 defeat for Vancouver. Markstrom was 8-6 with a 2.85 GAA — his only career postseason action.
Markstrom has finished in the top 10 in voting for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the season’s best goalkeeper, in each of the last two seasons. Originally a second-round pick (31st overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2008 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-6 Markstrom spent his first 3 1/2 seasons in Florida until being moved to Vancouver as part of the trade that sent Roberto Luongo to the Panthers.
In his career, Markstrom is 110-118-32 with a 2.80 GAA and five shutouts in 229 games (218 starts).
–Field Level Media