Jacob Markstrom blocks a shot against the Dallas Stars during a March 17, 2019 NHL game.
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press files
The Canucks’ No. 1 netminder put up his best-ever season in 2018-19Name: Jacob MarkstromAge: 29.Position: Goaltender.Career stats: GP: 229, W: 87, L: 102, SO/OL: 28, Save Pct.: .909Contract status: One year left on a three-year deal, cap hit is US $3,666,667.How 2018-19 went: Under new goalie coach Ian Clark, Markstrom’s year started well enough, though you might not remember that: In eight starts in October, he posted a .911 save percentage.He would finish the year with a .912 save percentage.It’s that terrible November that might have clouded your memory: Markstrom stopped just 88.7 per cent of the shots he faced that month.But the context there matters: November was also the worst stretch of play for the Canucks’ penalty kill. Remember how the Canucks couldn’t do anything right when down a man?When Markstrom was in the crease during the season’s second month, the Canucks yielded 11 power-play goals to their opponents. A lot of that was due to the poor play in front of him; shorthanded goals are about the system more than anything.In other words, you could make a claim that Markstrom was playing well from almost the get-go. But that’s really not important, because we saw how well things went for him in December and February.He stood on his head in the depths of winter, posting a .943 save percentage in December, .930 in February.The Canucks’ defensive play, with Markstrom at the core of it, put them on the edge of the playoff picture. Over the final month of the season, he stopped 90.8 per cent of the shots he faced, which was still above the league average of .905.Add it all up and Markstrom posted a .912 save percentage on the season, the second year in a row he posted such a figure.LISTEN: Ed Willes and Paul Chapman look at which Stanley Cup finalist, the St. Louis Blues or the Boston Bruins, provide the most salient roadmap for the Vancouver Canucks to follow on the path to winning a Cup.
Listen and subscribe to our podcast from you mobile device:via Apple podcasts | via TuneIn | via Spotify | via StitcherIs the player not working? Click here.UNDER THE MICROSCOPEIt has been over seven weeks since the Vancouver Canucks began their summer holidays, nine points shy of a wild-card berth into the NHL playoffs. Today we continue our microscopic examination of the team’s roster:Coming Friday: Thatcher DemkoRyan SpoonerTanner PearsonJosh LeivoTyler MotteOlli JuoleviMarkus GranlundLuke SchennSven BaertschiBrandon SutterTravis GreenAlex BiegaJake VirtanenQuinn HughesNikolay GoldobinJim BenningChris TanevAlex EdlerTroy StecherBen HuttonMarkstrom has been a fine performer for the Canucks. They’re not quite the numbers that his predecessor Ryan Miller posted, but on a team that has been as porous defensively as the Canucks have been in recent years, it’s pretty good.That said, this is a league where shooting percentages are on the upswing. Posting numbers in the .910s is harder than ever.Happen to know what save percentage the Boston Bruins posted in the 2018-19 regular season? Yep, .912.
A shot by the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl is blocked by Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) during the first period of a Feb. 16, 2019 NHL game in San Jose, Calif.
Josie Lepe /
The Canucks look solid in net. Markstrom has now posted two solid seasons in a row. There’s every reason to think he’ll play just as well next season.And then he’ll be looking at a new contract. He’ll also be in his 30’s and, as we’ve covered in this space time and again, player performance, especially goalies, falls off as one moves into their 30’s.Will it be Thatcher Demko who takes over? Will it be Mike DiPietro?Markstrom had a lot to play for this past season and he’ll have a lot to play for again next.Greatest strength: Size. Agility.Greatest weakness: Technique.Is he trade bait? Probably not. Most teams aren’t after goalies who are set to hit their 30s.The big question: Markstrom is surely at his peak now, firstname.lastname@example.org/risingaction CLICK HERE to report a typo. Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com