July 19, 2024

Devils land goalie Jacob Markstrom in trade with Flames

The New Jersey Devils acquired goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames for defenseman Kevin Bahl and a top-10-protected first-round draft pick in 2025, it was announced Wednesday.

Calgary will also retain 31.25% of Markstrom’s salary in the deal.

Markstrom waived his no-trade clause to facilitate the transaction. He has two seasons remaining at $6 million per year on his current contract.

The Devils had been after Markstrom since the March trade deadline but weren’t able to get a deal with Calgary over the line in time. He had reportedly been unhappy with the Flames for months and would have been open to a trade sooner.

“Always you look at the hockey perspective, like do you feel like the team can win? And when that’s a yes, everything else comes pretty easy,” Markstrom said on a video call with reporters from his native Sweden. “Obviously New Jersey and Tom really made a push for me, and when somebody wants you to come play for that team, it makes you feel good. It doesn’t take much more than that for me to get excited and want to jump on the ship and be a part of it and hopefully sail it in the right direction.”

Markstrom is off to New Jersey after posting a 23-23-2 record last season with a .905 save percentage and a 2.78 goals-against average.

He will join the Devils in a likely tandem with veteran Jake Allen. New Jersey grabbed Allen from the Montreal Canadiens in March after trading their former No. 1 goalie, Vitek Vanecek, to San Jose Sharks. Allen took over as the Devils’ starter down the stretch for the regular season as New Jersey failed to qualify for the postseason.

New Jersey also had goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen in the mix from its trade of Vanecek to the Sharks. Kahkonen is an unrestricted free agent as of July 1.

This is the Devils’ first significant personnel move since hiring coach Sheldon Keefe on May 23. The team’s goaltending carousel over the past two seasons had been a significant issue needing to be addressed, and Markstrom — coupled with Allen — projects to bring the stability that New Jersey has craved to become a consistent playoff contender.

“I think Jake is a great goalie, and I can’t wait to work with him and try to win as many games as possible,” Markstrom said, adding he understands what’s being asked of him. “You want to be that difference-maker, which as a goalie you have a chance to do that every night. I think that challenge, that’s what gets me up every morning.”

The Flames now will likely go with a tandem of Dan Vladar and Dustin Wolf at goaltender. The latter was a seventh-round pick by Calgary in 2019, and the organization has been building him up to be a full-time player in its future. He suited up in 17 games last season and had a save percentage of .893. Vladar was 8-9-2 last season with an .882 save percentage when backing up Markstrom.