NHL Rumors: Vancouver Canucks – Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko
The Vancouver Canucks would ideally keep both Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko. Benning will talk to Markstrom this week and hopefully, start working towards a new contract.
© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

TSN Radio Vancouver: Darren Dreger on what Jacob Markstrom’s next contract could look like: “I think we can speculate that it’s probably going to start with a six, or $6 million in average annual salary… ”

TSN: One of Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning’s top priority is to deal with pending unrestricted free agent goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

“Jacob’s an important guy in our group because he’s a leader and he was our MVP over the course of the regular season,” Benning told reporters on Tuesday, noting that he spoke with Markstrom’s agent on Monday.

“We’re going to try to figure out a way that makes sense for us and that makes Jacob and his agent happy to get him signed. We want him back and we’re going to start working on that this week.”

Ideally, the Canucks would keep both Markstrom and Thatcher Demko, especially with a potential condensed schedule likely coming next season.

The Canucks also have pending UFAs in Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev. Next season Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will need new deals. There is also the expansion Seattle draft.

The offseason has already begun for the Canucks and Benning is talking to teams.

“I’ve had some calls from other general managers here this morning now that we’re out,” he said Tuesday. “We’re going to get a good read, a good feel for what the marketplace looks like this summer going into the draft and free agency. And we’ll react to that.”

Josh Beneteau of Sportsnet: The 30-year old Jacob Markstrom had a 23-16-4 record with a .918 save percentage during the regular season. In 14 playoff games, he had a .919 save percentage.

Markstrom could be looking for $6 million per season or more on a long-term deal. Thatcher Demko is under contract for one more season at $1.05, and if they signed a veteran backup like Brian Elliott or Cam Talbot, they could gain some salary cap space.

If the Canucks sign Markstrom to a long-term deal, Demko would then likely be exposed for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.

Demko is still not a sure thing and the Canucks may preferred him to develop a little longer in a backup role.

It won’t be an easy decision for GM Jim Benning.