Vancouver Canucks considering keeping three goalies to start 2014/15


Mar 6, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom (35) skates on the ice prior to the game against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Canucks traded goalie Roberto Luongo for Markstrom before the trade deadline. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn’t be a Vancouver Canucks season without a goaltending controversy and big or small, the Vancouver Canucks will once again find themselves unable to avoid a storyline surrounding the crease as Jacob Markstrom’s presence makes the backup position behind Ryan Miller tricky for general manager Jim Benning and head coach Willie Desjardins.

Thanks to Mike Gillis’ trading for Markstrom in the Robert Luongo trade Vancouver has three one way goaltending contracts and two goalies they are planning on giving the majority of the playing time in Ryan Miller at the starting job taking over from Eddie Lack. The problem is that if Markstrom goes to Utica he may be stolen off of waivers and the AHL the Canucks will be stuck with some dead money, making it a potential reality that Desjardins may keep Markstrom on the roster even if it really doesn’t make much sense with Lack being a more than suitable backup.

Add in the fact that Markstrom would be a expensive third string goaltender, $1.2 million to be exact and this move makes little sense. However The Province outlined that Desjardins is open to keeping Markstrom on in case either Lack or Miller go down to injury, not a bad idea in theory because Markstrom is still an NHL level backup. The only problem is that Markstom is without a third string backup’s two way contract.

From The Province’s The White Towel blog:

"It’s nuts to think that after everything that’s happened in the past few years, the Canucks still have a big-money starter locked into a multi-year contract with a young, promising, cheaper backup who is poised to be a No. 1 guy very, very soon.We’ve been down this road before.Except this year there is a wild-card twist. That would be Jacob Markstrom, the goalie the Canucks got back in the Roberto Luongo trade.Markstrom is three years removed from being the best goalie not playing in the NHL. He has not lost the size and impressive athleticism which helped him get that type of notoriety.In other words, he’s a valuable asset and one the Canucks could lose to waivers if they try to assign him to Utica.It’s put the Canucks into another goalie pickle which has them mulling over the idea of keeping three goalies when the season starts.What could go wrong?“For sure we would (be comfortable with that),” head coach Willie Desjardins said.“It’s a little tougher keeping three but we’ll need three this year at some time. You just have to believe that because of injuries.”Keeping Markstrom, who is behind both Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack, would also mean absorbing his $1.2 million cap hit.If they send him down and he clears waivers, as per the “Wade Redden” formula in the CBA, he would cost $275,000 against the cap.If you pile on Luongo’s dead money, it would mean the Canucks would have $1.075 million in cap space eaten up by goalies who aren’t on the team."

Nothing against Markstrom, but this move doesn’t make much sense for the team other than as a potential ploy to keep Markstrom’s trade value viable and to avoid risking him on the waiver wire at the expense of Eddie Lack. Lack showed upside last season before everything went south during what was a team collapse and should be the clear recipient of any net time that isn’t being used on Ryan Miller this season. Combine that with the practice problem of having two nets with three goalies to drive home the fact that the numbers don’t add up and it is hard to see Vancouver going through with a three ring circus at the goaltender position. But with Markstrom’s one way contract the Canucks may just be left with handcuffs by the way of Mike Gillis’ famous trade of arguable the best Canucks goaltender in franchise history forcing an unwelcome three goalie scenario to begin their new regime.