NHL Rumors: Salary Retention on Jacob Markstrom an Issue for a New Jersey Devils-Calgary Flames Deal

Sportsnet: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast – The Battle of Ontario is Back, Baby episode talking about the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils have talked about goaltender Jacob Markstrom but salary retention appears to be a major hurdle.

** transcription

Marek: “Okay, sticking with the Calgary Flames. Headlines was fascinating and featured a very prominent Calgary Flame, one that should be in the Vezina trophy conversation I’m sure he already is. I think by now people have clued into the fact that Jacob Markstrom, Elliot, is having an outstanding season. And Jacob Markstrom is valued not just in Calgary but elsewhere as well, most notably, perhaps, within the Devils organization.

Friedman: “So, I think we’ve all known that there’s kind of been this, it’s like that awkward high school dance right, Jeff? It’s, you know, boys sees girl boy wants to dance with girl, boys kind of shy. girl wants to dance with boy…”

Marek: “Are you confusing me with your therapist, Elliotte? I’m your co-host. I’m your buddy. I’m not your therapist.

Friedman: “Believe me, this did happen to me a few times. I’m not I’m not gonna lie. I was the shyest of teenagers.

Girl says I wish this guy would ask me already. And you know like eventually you get there.

I think that the Devils in the Flames have been awkwardly looking at each other.  I just heard it got pretty serious. You know, I’ve talked about before on this pod about how the Flames have, I believe only kept money once and I think that was David Rittich to Toronto. And that was a deal that had no term. So again, I think the surest predictor of future events is past events. So teams know that the Flames are not crazy about this, right?

So I do believe that is a major hurdle and was probably the major hurdle. And I think the package was, I think they were closer on that. I’m not 100% sure but I think they were closer on that. It was they weren’t it wasn’t perfect, but I heard the retention was the much bigger problem, the much bigger problem.

And like I had people telling me, it’s falling apart. It’s over. But I don’t know that. I don’t like to say that because I’ve learned in this business that just because something is true one day doesn’t mean it’s true the next day.

But I do think the devils are looking at other possibilities now. What this says to me, like a rental makes no sense for the Devils. They’re probably not making the playoffs this year. But I think they’re looking at guys with term. And the like this, I was told was, and I heard it from more than one place, was a real legit attempt at Markstrom.

And again, I don’t know that it ever went to him. I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know that the two teams made a real serious try and you know, I’ll just say this like, again, those Calgary players, they are playing their hearts out in the middle of a crazy season. And I, everything I always say, Al MacInnis, Al MacInnis, how is this gonna go over in our room? And I think the Flames think about that. If you’re gonna give up Markstrom it better be good. And I think that’s, that’s what govern this as much as anything.

Marek: “You see, I can see these two teams, I think we’ve talked about this before on the pod or the radio show, they all put a bleed together in some ways. I look at these two teams and I say these two teams together given what, where both are in their winning cycle. Given where both are in what they have and what they need. These might be the perfect two teams, Elliott, not for a trade but for a blockbuster.

Now, it would have helped if New Jersey was in a better position in the standings certainly. But I look at New Jersey and what they need, short-term, long-term. Again, as we’ve mentioned before that the Dougie Hamilton injury might be the most underreported story of the season in the NHL, period.

Friedman: “Yeah.”

Marek: “But that’s, but that’s a whole. I look at New Jersey and I say, this is a team that doesn’t capital and need a lot of draft picks right now. Like a lot of the key pieces for the New Jersey Devils are already in place. Like there’s some players coming up and certainly some polish for young guys but basically, like all of what you’re going to see with the New Jersey Devils is kind of all in place except for the goaltending and that’s what the Calgary Flames have.

And the New Jersey Devils have the ability whether it’s with young players, specifically defensemen where they have a lot or a draft picks and draft picks can be used to get teams to retain on money and that’s where the Markstrom conversation to your point comes in.

These two teams have the potential to have an absolutely blockbuster deal. But again, I’ll swing back to your point. If New Jersey was in second place in then metropolitan, maybe we’re talking about this a little bit stronger. Because they also do have Noah Hanifin.

Like honestly Elliotte, I look at these two I say, because you’ve done this before it to, marry two teams and say which teams based on what they have and what they need, you know marry that to another team where you can see a blockbuster deal. I keep swinging back to Calgary and New Jersey.

So I was happy to see you talk about that on Saturday. But you think this is scuttled at this point or at least on pause?

Friedman: “That’s what someone said to me, more than one person said to me. Like there was, there was a lot. This really, I just happened the two teams were in the same city and I just think it, it added to it.

Look, like I said, I had a couple people say to me they think it’s scuttled but, you know how careful I am. This, this is a funny league. Like sometimes when you lay the groundwork, yeah, it falls apart but sometimes you can go back to it and know like people grind in negotiations like you know, you’re, you know, Tom Fitzgerald, Craig Conroy, like these are former players. And this is their competition now and they battle just as hard in conversations as they did when they were both on the ice. And both of those guys were really competitive players.”

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