They say that you’re supposed to learn from your mistakes. If that is indeed true, then Vancouver Canucks fans should know that it’s rarely a good idea to turn against one of the team’s goaltenders. Unfortunately, doing just that is something that some fans in this market have done on multiple occasions. In particular, fans like to do it when their team gets more than one elite goaltender. Fans can’t do that this year, as trading Jacob Markstrom could be costly for the Canucks.
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Think of it like a shiny new toy that you got for Christmas as a child. You unwrap the toy and begin to play with it, and realize that because it is far superior to the last greatest toy you had, the older toy now becomes expendable. You no longer feel the need to play with the other toy, just as Canucks fans no longer feel the need to keep two good goaltenders around. Okay, maybe that analogy wasn’t the best, but you get the point; fans can sometimes be quick to suggest the team should shop one of their goaltenders on the trade market. If that becomes the case with Markstrom this year, it could prove to be detrimental for the Canucks.
Believing that a veteran goaltender is expendable is something the Canucks have seen just recently when fans grew tired of Roberto Luongo, who not only led this team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, but won more games than any goaltender in Canucks’ history. The “Lu” chants turned into boos near the end of Luongo’s time as a Canuck when fans took notice to two “shiny new toys,” Cory Schneider and Eddie Lack.
A Bad History with Goaltenders
Schneider was playing up to par with the best goaltender in franchise history and as a result, the two split starts under former Canucks’ head coach Alain Vigneault. Due to Schneider bursting onto the scene, even Luongo felt that his time in Vancouver was coming to a close. That’s why it shocked both the hockey world and Luongo alike when the Canucks traded Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth-overall selection at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
That pick was used to select Bo Horvat, and for a brief time, the Canucks made it clear that Luongo was their starter. The Schneider trade saw Eddie Lack get a shot as the Canucks backup. Once again, a budding young goaltender was gunning for Luongo’s job, and once again, some fans quickly became infatuated with the idea of keeping a more youthful goaltender and trading the older one.
The Canucks could have one of their best tandems in years with Markstrom and Demko. Markstrom is coming off a career year, and many believe that his improved level of play is sustainable. Demko is the youthful goaltender with loads of potential, and it’s going to become tempting to call for the more veteran goaltender in Markstrom to be traded.
If Markstrom catches fire and the Canucks are gunning for a playoff spot by the trade deadline, it may prove costly to deal Markstrom, who has one year remaining on his current contract. It would be a fine line that the Canucks would need to be wary of, especially if the team is on the hunt for a playoff berth when they choose to pull the trigger on a Markstrom deal.
Markstrom Trade Circumstances
If, for whatever reason, the Canucks have nothing but a forgettable season to show for their efforts come trade deadline time, then they should certainly be looking to trade Markstrom. If packaged with another asset, they’d be able to potentially get an additional first-round pick to use in what is believed by many to be a star-studded 2020 draft class. If they miss the playoffs, their 2021 first-round pick belongs to the Tampa Bay Lightning thanks to the J.T. Miller trade back in June.
It’s a win-win for the Canucks, who could draft two final pieces to the puzzle that is their jigsaw-like rebuild. They could further load up on young talent as they hunt for a Stanley Cup Championship if they were to trade Markstrom and miss the playoffs this year. The only time the Canucks should be actively trying to trade Markstrom is if one of two things happen; Demko plays absolutely unreal and steals the starting job from him, or if they look like they will once again fail to reach the playoffs.
Trading Markstrom when the Canucks will likely be playing meaningful games right up until Game 82 just doesn’t make sense. As much as it hurts to say it, there is no guarantee that Demko will be able to be an effective starter in the NHL, whereas Markstrom proved he’s just that last season. The Canucks must proceed with caution when it comes to trading their number one goaltender in a season where they hope to compete.
Site Expert at The Canuck Way, contributor at Puck Prose, BCIT Broadcast and Digital Journalism student, English and Communications at Simon Fraser University. Been writing for as long as I can remember, been writing about the Vancouver Canucks for over a year now.