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Markstrom says Flames’ management could have handled trade talk ‘a lot different’

Jacob Markstrom Calgary Flames Jacob Markstrom - Getty Images

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom said Friday that Calgary Flames’ management could have handled trade talk around him leading up to the March 8 deadline “a lot different.”

“I think everyone in here, every player in here, I really respect them. Everything that’s been going on and not going on…how everyone in this room has handled everything, I think has been really good, you know? The whole situation and everything, am I happy about that? No, I’m not. And I think it could have been handled a lot different from up top,” Markstrom said Friday when asked whether he's been able to tune out the rumours. 

The veteran netminder has been mentioned in trade speculation for weeks and is the No. 9 player on TSN’s Trade Bait Board. Calgary enters play Friday having won four straight games, but still sit seven points back of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Markstrom is in the fourth year of a six-year, $36 million contract that carries an annual cap hit of $6 million. The deal is scheduled to run through the 2025-26 campaign.

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun confirmed last month that the New Jersey Devils engaged with the Flames on trade talks surrounding Markstrom, but clarified the goaltender was never asked to waive his no-trade clause. 

He reported on Friday that the Devils have informed the Flames they would be willing to now take on Markstrom's contract without salary retention. 

"What was not presented to Jacob Markstrom was this question, 'Would you waive to go to New Jersey?' And so that tells you a couple things," LeBrun explained on Insider Trading on Feb. 13.

"One, that those trade conversations didn't escalate to the point where it got to that juncture. It also asks a couple of other questions, which is why didn't it? And one of things we found out on this day was that there seems to be a discrepancy between the two teams about how much money either team should be paying Jacob Markstrom, which is to say that the Devils would want Calgary to retain some of the salary left on Markstrom's contract in any trade.

"He's got two and half years left on his deal at $6 million a year, so you can see why the Flames aren't too interested in that or at least if they were going to contemplate that, can the two teams agree and what kind of price that would cost. So, who knows if this thing is dead or not between the two teams, but certainly the Devils still need to upgrade their goaltending position."

The 34-year-old is 20-15-2 this season with a .914 save percentage and 2.56 goals-against average.

The Flames dealt defenceman Chris Tanev to the Dallas Stars earlier this week for a 2024 second-rounder, prospect Artem Grushnikov and a conditional 2026 third-round pick. They also traded forward Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks in a multi-player deal on Jan. 31.