1. Jim Benning must sign Jacob Markstrom to a new contract
Only God knows who the Vancouver Canucks would be without their all-star goaltender, Jacob Markstrom. The 30-year-old netminder from Gavle, Sweden is the backbone of Vancouver and the biggest reason why the Canucks were in the playoff race. His eight stolen wins this year shattered all totals of every puck-stopper in the league and cemented him as a real deal starter in the NHL.
The team MVP is soon to be an unrestricted free agent who has earned the right to command top dollar from the open market. This is his first big-money opportunity and he has every right to cash in. Regardless of the dollar amount, Benning needs to find a way to bring Markstrom back into the fold.
Without a doubt, re-signing Markstrom further complicates an already sticky goaltender situation down the road, but with no-knock towards Thatcher Demko, I think it’s in the best interest of the rookie goalie to have him play backup for another year. He could probably handle taking the net next season, but on his own without Markstrom, the Canucks just wouldn’t be the same calibre team. Not quite.
The future of “Who’s net is it anyway?” can be discussed at a later date, but for the better interest of the club, Benning to a certain extent, has to give Markstrom whatever it takes in order to please him and get him to stay playing for the beautiful people of British Columbia.
I’m no expert on what would be the right number to make both sides happy, but fairly, Markstrom could probably ask for up to $7 million dollars annually on anywhere up to a six-year deal. That’s probably a bit steep for the term in the eyes of Benning, but honestly, Markstrom could probably fetch a prettier penny elsewhere. Benning should do what it takes now, and figure out the future later. Letting Markstrom escape would be a huge misstep by Benning; one he can’t afford to make.