According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Vancouver Canucks have signed goaltender Thatcher Demko to a five-year contract extension worth an average annual value (AAV) of $5 million. He is currently playing out the final season of a two-year bridge deal that he signed in 2019.
When former starter Jacob Markstrom signed with the Calgary Flames in the offseason, it was all but confirmed that Demko would be the guy for the Canucks moving forward. He was the goaltender of the future when he was drafted in 2014, and now he’s the goaltender of the present and foreseeable future.
The Canucks Are Demko’s Team Now
Just like when Roberto Luongo reigned supreme during the golden years of the early 2010s, Demko will be looking to do the same in the 2020s. At 25-years-old, he’s just entering his prime and his best years should be coming as soon as next season. In fact, he’s already showing signs of being a consistent Vezina Trophy caliber goaltender in the same vein as Luongo before him.
Demko held court in the 2020 Playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights with a phenomenal 0.64 goals-against average (GAA) and an equally impressive .985 save percentage (SV%) along with a shutout that left Mark Stone and the Golden Knights shaking their heads. The 2020-21 season did not bring more of the same at first, but since March began, “Bubble Demko” has returned with a vengeance.
In the month of March, Demko has a record of 8-3 with a 2.15 GAA and a .937 SV% to go along with one shutout. He has been the sole reason for many of those victories and has, at times, looked unbeatable in the Canucks’ crease. Braden Holtby has rarely seen the net because of it, and what once was a platoon system has become a Luongo/Martin Brodeur type of tandem where the backup doesn’t seem to exist.
Basically, Demko has taken the starting position and he’s not giving it up anytime soon. Now that he’s signed, the Canucks won’t have to worry about goaltending for a very long time.
Demko Done, Pettersson & Hughes Pending
With Demko signed, general manager Jim Benning can now turn his full attention to core pieces, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. $5 million is a reasonable AAV for Demko, but that is just a drop in the bucket compared to what they will be demanding.
With their star power and future potential, Hughes and Pettersson will probably come in at $10 million AAV each, similar to the contracts that Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews signed in 2014. They are the core of this team, so Benning should pull out all the stops to get them signed to long-term contracts. However, with the Canucks’ cap situation right now, bridge deals will probably come first.
Benning has checked off a major box on his offseason to-do list by signing Demko before July 28th. Now he can focus on dealing with the two franchise-altering ones. Ultimately, what he does with Pettersson and Hughes’ contracts will dictate how much money he will have to build a contending roster. Fortunately for him, he only has to deal with one agent, and fingers-crossed, matching contracts announced at the same time.
Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.
Matthew also co-hosts The Hockey Writers Prospect Corner on YouTube.