The Vancouver Canucks ended their season with more than a few restricted free agents to make decisions on. Their first, and probably easiest, is done now.
The Canucks re-signed goaltender Thatcher Demko today to a two-year deal worth $1.05 million annually against the salary cap.
He played nine games this past season, posting a 4-3-1 record with a .913 save percentage.
More impressive was his work down the stretch as he put a mid-season knee injury behind him and didn’t post a save percentage worse than .943 in any of his last three games.
It’s a favourable deal for the club, as the Canucks get to see what Demko is made of over the next two years. If things line up correctly for the 23-year-old, he may be the Canucks’ starter at that point.
Of course, that brings up one of the (many) tough free agent decisions the Canucks might face this offseason. Jacob Markstrom had a terrific year and has a year remaining on his deal. He’s eligible to be re-signed this summer.
Does Vancouver bite the bullet and cave to Markstrom’s demands—which will surely be lofty—or does the team play it out this season and let Demko try and wrestle the crease away from the incumbent starter?
At that point, Markstrom might be something of a tradeable asset, even if he does have a new contract (provided it's reasonable).
Demko will be 25 by the time this new deal ends, and will probably be jonesing to be the Canucks starter, if he’s not already.
It’s going to make for interesting times in Canucks land.
But in the meantime, the Canucks got a solid deal with Demko, as they get to really examine what they have in the young ‘tender.
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