Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks will be a popular name if he hits free agency and the Detroit Red Wings will be waiting with an open cheque book.
When it comes to signing players in free agency this offseason, for General Manager Jim Benning, he needs to know his limit and play within it.
The top priority for the Vancouver Canucks right now is to get their All-star goaltender inked to a new deal before free agency opens. The problem is, the Canucks have little money to work with and a line up of players who are waiting on new contracts.
Jacob Markstrom, who finished fourth in Vezina Trophy votes this year, is a key piece to the Canucks overall success. He’s done his due diligence when it comes to earning top dollar and he’ll want to make sure he gets paid, even if Vancouver doesn’t have the cash he feels he deserves.
According to Elliotte Friedman and Kevin Woodley, the Detroit Red Wings are very interested in the 30-year-old Swede. It’s being reported that they are preparing to make a very big pitch to acquire his services if he does, in fact, reach the open market.
The rumour mill has seen numbers as high as a minimum of $6 million dollars a year over five or six seasons. That’s most certainly what he’s worth, but the Canucks just don’t have the dollars to compete. According to Satiar Shah, a few weeks ago the Canucks were pitching a two-year deal with a $9 million dollar cap. Total!
Obviously, that’s a starting point for Benning in negotiations and he’ll have to work his way up to a more agreeable number as conversations continue between him and Markstrom’s agent. In my opinion, both the term and dollar that was pitched is a complete insult to what Markstrom has accomplished in Vancouver.
The question here will be, how much does winning a Stanley Cup matter to Markstrom? Sure, $30-36 million dollars would be nice, but the Red Wings are nowhere near competing in the playoffs and if and when they are a Stanley Cup favourite, Markstrom will most likely be on the decline of his career.
There is no doubt that Markstrom will have plenty of offers to consider on the open market, but he’s said to want to stay and win in Vancouver. Can Benning find a number that works for both sides or does this only end with Markstrom walking away for big money?
Benning needs to stand firm with his approach and not let these rumours get to his head. He needs to have a bar set and not allow Markstrom to push him over it. With some very questionable signings made over his tenure as GM, he’ll want to be on the right side of this situation when the dust settles.
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