New Jersey Devils Have No Reason To Overpay For Jacob Markstrom

Rumors out there speculate about what the New Jersey Devils would have to pay for goalie Jacob Markstrom. If what they say is remotely close, then the Devils should just go after Juuse Saros or Linus Ullmark.
Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks
Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

The New Jersey Devils need a goalie. This isn’t news. The Devils were tied to Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markström from January until the NHL Trade Deadline. The Devils ended up trading for Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen instead, and the team still fell into the dirt and missed the playoffs. 

Now that we’ve hit the offseason, many believe the Devils still have Markstrom at the top of their list. Tom Fitzgerald will be in on every relevant star goalie, which at this point might only be Markstrom, Juuse Saros, and Linus Ullmark. While it is a smaller market than maybe the Devils were dealing with this past season, this doesn’t mean the team should put all their chips on the table. 

The Flames trade has been in the works for likely over a year at this point. Yet, despite a little desperation on both sides, nothing happened. There are rumors that the two sides had a deal in place, but the Flames owner vetoed the trade. Now, after Markstrom waved his no-trade clause for a deal to the Devils just for it to go the way of the dodo, he’s clearly not happy with the situation.

While players like Nazem Kadri and Mackenzie Weegar made it clear they want to stick it out with the Flames, when asked where Markstrom thinks he will play next season, he simply said “I don’t know.” Meanwhile, general manager Craig Conroy said, “time will tell” when asked if Markstrom will be back. 

Despite this, there are still articles saying the Flames are not out of their gourde to ask for Alexander Holtz or even Dawson Mercer in trade talks. We disagree. The Flames have zero leverage. Sometimes that’s said without context, but the Flames truly are missing leverage in talks. 

We believe the reason talks broke down is because of the Devils need for money to be held back. That could have been done with the Flames retaining money on the contract or by taking Vitek Vanecek in the deal. Now, the Devils don’t have to worry about that. Vanecek is already in San Jose, and the Devils are in the offseason where they can maneuver the salary cap more easily. 

Asking for pretty much anything of value for Markstrom seems like living in a dream world. There’s an article out there from Luke Richardson of Spector’s Hockey, who we very much respect, who said the Devils could be looking at a price of Mercer or Holtz, plus Seamus Casey and their current first-round pick. Sorry, but if Fitzgerald paid that price for a 34-year-old goalie, any 34-year-old goalie, he might as well apply for unemployment now. 

The Devils still hold all of the cards. If that’s the price, call Nashville. Heck, if that’s the price, just pay ⅙ of that and get John Gibson. There’s no reason for the Devils to make that move now. 

What is the worst that could happen? The Flames trade Markstrom to Colorado? Cool, then pivot to Saros or Ullmark. We saw the Tampa Bay Lightning overplay their hand in the Noah Hanifin talks, and now he’s signed long-term in Vegas. It’s not the end of the world when there are other assets to target. 

The time for an overpay was last season when the Devils were desperate to make it back to the postseason. Now, they have options. One of those options can’t be overpaying for Markstrom.