Jacob Markstrom making a save at the top of his crease with Leon Draisaitl staring him down
Photo credit: NHL

Vezina Trophy finalist could be traded before the deadline and the Leafs may have checked in

Published January 12, 2024 at 4:40 PM

There's a lot of talk surrounding goaltending of late, especially in Toronto. As everyone knows, the injury to Joseph Woll and abysmal play of Ilya Samsonov has thrust a lot of extra responsibility onto the shoulders of 3rd string netminder Martin Jones in recent weeks. So far, Jones has risen to the occasion, making the most out of his unexpected opportunity to the tune of an 8-3-1 record, a 2.15 GAA and a .928 SV% this season. However, there are some who are still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Jones hasn't posted the strongest numbers in recent years, posting .900 goaltending or below in each of the last 5 seasons. So, while it's great to see him performing so well right now, there's a legitimate chance that he won't continue to play at that level. Thus, the Leafs have been searching for a goaltender in the background, as well as continuing their search for a top-4 defenseman.

As it turns out, the Leafs may have begun their search for a goalie at the right time, as a recent Vezina Trophy finalist has reportedly become available. As fate would have it, it's the same goaltender that Brad Treliving signed during his tenure in Calgary, Jacob Markstrom.

"[Markstrom has] two more years left on his contract, which includes a full no-movement clause, and comes with a $6 million salary cap hit. He turns 34 on Jan. 31. Nothing is imminent, by any stretch, but at least two clubs have poked around on his availability and my understanding is the Flames would entertain trading him if the right offer presented itself." - David Pagnotta, The Fourth Period

Markstrom was a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2021-22 after posting a 37-15-9 record, a 2.22 GAA and a .922 SV% over 63 appearances. He struggled last season, going 23-21-12 with an .892 SV%, but has rebounded nicely this season, having played in 25 contests, bringing his SV% back up to .910 on a struggling Calgary Flames team. Being just a year and a half removed from the best season of his NHL career, there's plenty of reason to believe that Markstrom still has it in him to steal games for whichever team acquires him.

Of course, with his salary being as high as it is, the Leafs would need the Flames to retain some salary and perhaps even take Ilya Samsonov back in the deal if such a trade were to materialize between the two Canadian franchises.

As of this point, Pagnotta has not linked Markstrom to the Leafs directly, other than to say that two teams have poked around to see if the Flames would consider trading him. Obviously, with the history there between Markstrom and Treliving, it would make sense if the Leafs were one of those two teams, though it would still very much be speculative.

January 12   |   675 answers
Vezina Trophy finalist could be traded before the deadline and the Leafs may have checked in

Should the Leafs pursue a deal for former Vezina Trophy finalist Jacob Markstrom?

Yes25137.2 %
No19528.9 %
Woll and Jones are fine17225.5 %
Woll, Jones and Sammy trio will be fine578.4 %
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