The Detroit Red Wings and GM Steve Yzerman are rumored to be looking from the outside in to bring aboard additional goaltending help, as they’re not expected to retain long-tenured net minder Jimmy Howard.
And while there will be a bevy of options for the team to choose from when the NHL season comes to an end, one candidate represents the best chance for a successful offseason in terms of shoring up the crease.
The Vancouver Canucks season is over, having been eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in a tight seven game series. However, their series saw the emergence of young goaltender Thatcher Demko, who took over from injured starter Jacob Markstrom and was nothing short of heroic for the Canucks.
The Canucks are up against the salary cap, and Markstrom is a pending UFA. Thanks to Demko’s performance, he’s given GM Jim Benning an easy choice – promote Demko thanks to his playoff performance and let Markstrom walk.
That’s where Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings come in.
Markstrom, 30, stands at an imposing 6’6 in stature, and has come into his own in recent years while with the Canucks after originally starting his career with the Florida Panthers. He came to Western Canada in 2014 in the trade that saw Roberto Luongo return to the Panthers. This season with Vancouver, he posted a 23-16-4 record with a .918 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average.
A deal in the neighborhood of $4 million per year would be a reasonable offer for Yzerman to levy, and may be enough to allow Vancouver to move on and go with the goaltenders within their organization. A Markstrom-Jonathan Bernier tandem would be a solid 1-2 punch in net.
Additionally, let’s also not overlook the rich Swedish tradition and heritage that the Red Wings are able to offer the Gävle native.
Red Wings fans, do you want to see Yzerman offer the imposing Swedish goaltender a free-agent contract?