Canucks roundtable: Who is the most important UFA to extend?

VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 10: Goalie Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks scrambles to find the puck while teammate Tyler Myers #57 looks to clear before Nic Petan #61 of the Toronto Maple Leafs can get a stick on the puck during NHL action at Rogers Arena on December 10, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 10: Goalie Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks scrambles to find the puck while teammate Tyler Myers #57 looks to clear before Nic Petan #61 of the Toronto Maple Leafs can get a stick on the puck during NHL action at Rogers Arena on December 10, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /
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Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Jacob Markstrom #25 of the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

1. Jacob Markstrom

Re-signing Markstrom should unquestionably be general manager Jim Benning’s top priority this summer. Both the eye test and analytics prove this point tremendously. He finished fourth in save percentage among goalies who played at least 40 games this season, and although his 2.75 goals against average wouldn’t jump off the page, it omits the fact that the Vancouver Canucks deployed a very permissive defence that allowed a considerable amount of high-danger scoring chances on most nights.

The Canucks ranked 28th in the league in shots allowed per game, yet still, have a winning record thanks in large part to Markstrom’s stellar goaltending. Near the end of February, it was announced that Markstrom would miss some time due to injury. The Canucks then went 3-5-0 with the goaltending duo of Thatcher Demko and Louis Domingue and put themselves in the stressful position of scratching and clawing their way to the playoffs.

The 30-year-old has been arguably the team’s MVP over the past two seasons, his partnership with goaltending coach Ian Clark has worked out extremely well, and the Canucks have shown that they need him between the pipes if they wish to make the postseason

. Besides, with the large number of goalies heading to unrestricted free agency, and the uncertain salary-cap situation for clubs this offseason, who’s to say the market for Markstrom will be strong and result in him getting the amount of money or term he desires? Goalies can be risky, but as long as Benning doesn’t give him too much term, Markstrom should be a risk the Canucks are willing to take.

-Lucas Celle