We can all understand why geographically speaking why the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers are linked to being rivals and fighting in the standings. However, one more element is getting added to the rivalry, which is expected to really heat things up!
According to Sportsnet, both the Flames and Oilers could get into the Jacob Markstrom’s sweepstakes. The Canucks might want to hold on to Markstrom, but the situation ain’t an easy one: the cap staying flat and next summer’s Seattle expansion draft are making things quite complicated for Vancouver who would like to keep Markstrom, but also have 24-year-old Thatcher Demko in the fold.
“All I’ve heard is it’s been a really challenging negotiation,” Elliotte Friedman said on Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Big Show. “They’ve been working at this for months. I don’t think that necessarily means they’ve been working on that straight. They’ve been on and off, but I think they know each others’ positions. I don’t think that’s changed a lot. I would bet Markstrom’s representatives have an idea of his market. I think there’s a limit of what Vancouver’s willing to do particularly in salary. I think Vancouver needs assurances that they’ll have expansion draft flexibility, which I think Markstrom is willing to consider at a price.”
The Flames and Oilers are both looking to add a veteran goalie to their respective roster and Sportsnet believes they will fight for Markstrom on the market to offer him a better deal. Here is what is said about Calgary:
“Cam Talbot was the better second-half goalie and thus took the playoff job from David Rittich. Talbot himself is a pending UFA who doesn’t have a great track record as a starter. As the Flames and their GM feel more pressure to come back better in 2020-21 following a second consecutive first-round exit, Markstrom could solidify them in net as Brad Treliving also tries to reconstruct a blue line that is likely to lose a few players to UFA. Calgary has just shy of $17 million in cap space, with 14 players on the roster.”
And they add the Oilers to the mix, who are also in need of a change in front of the net:
“The other Alberta team could use an upgrade in net as well, though the fact Mikko Koskinen is already there with a $4.5-million price tag complicates matters. The Oilers have to also upgrade their depth forwards, so how much can they realistically spend on Mike Smith’s replacement? Markstrom may prove too costly for them in the end, but if he hits the market, GM Ken Holland will explore the possibility of getting the best UFA goalie available.”
Sportsnet also notes that the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks might be going after Markstrom, but we are pretty sure the biggest impact will be on the rivalry in Western Canada.