The Vancouver Canucks locked up one in every of their key restricted free brokers forward of a busy summer time. Thatcher Demko signed a five-year extension value $25M, in keeping with Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Demko was set to turn into an RFA on the finish of the season and would have been arbitration-eligible.
After Demko was given a chance to show himself on the largest stage final summer time, posting a .985 save proportion in 4 postseason appearances, the Canucks determined to let Jacob Markstrom go away in free company and signal with the Calgary Flames. Braden Holtby was introduced in as a veteran complement to the younger netminder, however with this new deal, Vancouver is clearly placing its religion within the 25-year-old Demko.
A five-year time period buys out three years of unrestricted free company for Demko, however the $5M common annual worth is definitely a pleasant increase over the $1.05M he carried for the final two seasons. The deal places him forward of Holtby’s $4.3M and ties up chunk of the Canucks’ cap in goaltending, however it’s value it if Demko can proceed to develop into the beginning function.
After a number of shaky outings to start the season, Demko has put up a .937 save proportion in 11 March video games, successful eight of them. He’s confronted a mean of 35 pictures an evening throughout that stretch, which exhibits simply how a lot the Canucks have relied on him as they attempt to compete within the North Division. For a membership that received’t have a lot room to make modifications in the summertime, that efficiency shall be key to any likelihood the Canucks have of contending within the quick time period.
That $9.3M whole for Demko and Holtby will come into the highlight because the Canucks attempt to signal Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson this offseason. When Holtby signed the contract, many speculated that he could possibly be bait for the Seattle Kraken—an skilled, Stanley Cup-winning goaltender on an expiring deal, just like Marc-Andre Fleury for the Vegas Golden Knights. The issue in fact is Holtby’s efficiency, which has been downright dreadful at occasions this season and final. The 31-year-old has an .894 save proportion in 12 appearances this 12 months, and when added to the .897 he put up final 12 months for the Washington Capitals, it tells the story of a goaltender on the best way out of the NHL, not one headed to guide an enlargement franchise.
If the Canucks do maintain on to Holtby, there isn’t a ton of room for Hughes and Pettersson. The crew has a number of defensive holes to repair in the summertime and a ahead group that has already had hassle scoring at occasions. Demko is acting at a excessive stage and seems to be the no-doubt starter, however signing a long-term deal comes at an elevated cap hit and fewer flexibility for the Canucks.