Yesterday, TSN 1260’s Jason Gregor and NHL.com’s Kevin Woodley reported that the Red Wings may make a pitch for Vancouver Canucks goaltender and unrestricted free agent-to-be Jacob Markstrom. The 30-year-old late-bloomer is reportedly looking for a $5-million-a-season contract.
Today, without mentioning Gregor or Woodley, Sportsnet lists the Red Wings as a possible suitor for Markstrom’s services:
Detroit Red Wings: Over the weekend, Friedman reported that UFA goalie Jimmy Howard was “probably not” going to return to Detroit next season, so that young, rebuilding team will need a sturdy replacement. The Wings are building towards a promising future, and there’s no telling how long that will take to come to fruition, so unlike many teams this off-season they have a bunch of cap room to work with. With a roster of just 11 players, the Wings have a projected $34.6 million in cap space. Jonathan Bernier remains, with a $3-million cap hit, but is one year away from that expiring.
97.1 the Ticket’s Will Burchfield also weighed in regarding the Wings’ possible interest in Markstrom:
If Markstrom does hit free agency, which begins Oct. 9, he’d be the best goalie on the market. His .918 save percentage ranked fourth in the NHL this season among goalies with at least 40 games played. Vezina winner Connor Hellenuyck posted a .922.
The Red Wings need help in net, both now and in the future. The team is moving on from Jimmy Howard, and Jonathan Bernier is entering the final year of his contract. None of its goalies in the pipeline are close to the NHL — and none of them are considered top prospects.
But is Markstrom the answer? A five-year contract would bring him through his age-35 season, and his best years likely wouldn’t coincide with the Wings’ competitive timeline. The price might be a bit high, too. With $3 million already allotted for Bernier, does Detroit want almost $10 million tied up in its goalies next season?
I don’t see the Wings successfully landing Markstrom unless they overpay for his services. He’ll have better opportunities to join winning hockey teams (in theory, anyway).