FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. – If you shower your opponent with goal and shooting opportunities, as the Vancouver Canucks did on Thursday, it doesn't matter who is in goal.
Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko could both have been on the net against the Florida Panthers – that would be a total of 12 feet, 10-inch goalkeeper – and the Canucks would probably still have lost if they had fired 49 shots and a double-digit figure outnumbered them rushes.
As it turned out, Demko started instead of Markstrom, let the first two shots hit Torchance A in the first three minutes, and then scored 44 saves in a 5-2 defeat that was not that scarce.
The choice of trainer Travis Green for Demko was a little surprising just because Markstrom came up after an embarrassing 2-9 loss in Tampa on Tuesday, when Vancouver's starter had the last 22 minutes free and his backing didn't look particularly good Redemption was also a relief.
But Markstrom had started 12 of the previous 13 games. If the Canucks are to remain in the battle for the National Hockey League playoffs, they have to cope with the workload of goalkeeper # 1 by giving Demko more appearances.
The subplot of all this is, of course, Markstrom's possible exit as an unrestricted free agent after these seasonal and contract negotiations, which have not yet passed the preliminary stage.
Canucks general manager Jim Benning confirmed during the game on Thursday that no great progress had yet been made between the team and Markstrom's agent Pat Morris.
The sites are still too far away from the free act on July 1st for negotiations to be really urgent, especially since there is little chance at the moment that Benning will process Markstrom if it occurs before NHL trading no renewal, submission deadline is February 24th.
"I don't think about it a bit," said Markstrom to Sportsnet before this road trip, during which the Canucks played matinee games in a row this weekend in Buffalo and Minnesota. "This second half of the season is important for everyone in this room. I feel like we have a team that is going into the playoffs. The fans have really gotten through this season and you can feel the excitement. The people are. " starts to get excited.
"You cannot think: & # 39; I do it for myself. If I play well, I am committed. & # 39; I don't worry about it. But you have to play well."
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The slow start of negotiations can also be an indication of how difficult these conversations will be with the 24-year-old demo who the Canucks see as a future starter, given that the 29-year-old Markstrom is in a strong position, a contract with a significant amount of more money and a longer term than his three-year deal of $ 11 million.
With two clashes in two seasons and only 25 NHL games of experience, Demko doesn't look ready to appear as a starter next season despite his outstanding pedigree. And, as has been said many times, there is also a 2021 Seattle draft extension to consider, although Benning told us last month that he wasn't concerned about possibly having to sign a subcontract with Seattle to keep both Canucks goalkeepers.
"There is still a lot of time before the draft extension," said Benning. "We'll find out when we get closer."
There are also complications for Markstrom's side.
He won't have the great UFA market to himself. 30-year-old Stanley Cup and Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby is expected to lead a goalkeeper class that 28-year-old Robin Lehner and several reliable veterans – Jaroslav Halak, Anton Khudobin and Thomas Greiss – could include. And the goalkeeper retail market will ease before the Seattle draft.
With so many tentacles for Canucks goal prospects and 38 remaining starts this season, the future of Markstrom and Demko suggests convincingly. But not for them.
"Everyone in this room focuses on the playoffs," said Demko. "This is what I love about this team. The boys put themselves aside (individually) to improve the team. Marky and I sit in this boat ourselves.
"We always talk. We are good friends. It is not something where we compete with each other. We try to help each other. If someone plays, we will support him." It's something that I really respect about our relationship. And that will remain the case in the future. "
Markstrom was the Canucks' most valuable player this season. His 15-12-3 record included a 43-goal against Carolina, a 49-goal with 3-2 against Los Angeles and five wins in 40 or more strokes. The Swedes saving rate of 0.914 is well above the NHL average of 0.908, although Markstrom's season has been interrupted twice due to the terminal illness and subsequent death of his father at home.
The San Diego-based demo is 8-5-1 with a saving of 0.903 percent. He said he hadn't even thought about the impact of Market's uncertain future.
"No, not at all," he said.