New Jersey Devils acquire goalie Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames

Jacob Markstrom is finally going to the Devils after months of New Jersey trying to trade for him.

The Devils acquired Markstrom from Calgary on Wednesday, adding the goaltender they hope will solve their problems in net that contributed to missing the playoffs. They sent 6-foot-6, 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Bahl and a top-10 protected 2025 first-round pick to the Flames for Markstrom, who waived his no-movement clause to facilitate the deal.

General manager Tom Fitzgerald attempted to get Markstrom before the trade deadline. Talks resumed in recent weeks and reached the finish line with the 34-year-old signing off on the move from a rebuilding team to a contender.

“Always you look at the hockey perspective, like do you feel like the team can win? And when that’s a yes, everything else comes pretty easy,” Markstrom said on a video call with reporters from his native Sweden. “Obviously New Jersey and Tom really made a push for me, and when somebody wants you to come play for that team, it makes you feel good. It doesn’t take much more than that for me to get excited and want to jump on the ship and be a part of it and hopefully sail it in the right direction.”

New Jersey made the playoffs and reached the second round in 2022-23, which was supposed to be the start of a run of success. But a team save percentage of .896, ranked in the bottom five in the NHL, cost coach Lindy Ruff his job and contributed to falling out of contention.

Fitzgerald traded for Jake Allen on deadline day in March as a last-ditch effort and at the time foreshadowed adding another veteran goalie to serve as the Devils’ tandem next season. Markstrom is that guy at a reduced price of $4.125 million over the next two years with the Flames retaining 31.25% — $1.875 million — annually.

“I think Jake is a great goalie, and I can’t wait to work with him and try to win as many games as possible,” Markstrom said, adding he understands what’s being asked of him. “You want to be that difference-maker, which as a goalie you have a chance to do that every night. I think that challenge, that’s what gets me up every morning.”

Markstrom joins his fourth organization after being drafted and debuting for Florida, coincidentally at New Jersey in what is his new home arena, and spending time with Vancouver and Calgary. And while their Battle of Alberta rivals, the Edmonton Oilers, play in the Stanley Cup Final, the Flames continued their teardown that has included the departures of Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Tyler Toffoli and Noah Hanifin in recent years.

GM Craig Conroy said the trade “demonstrates our focus on the infusion of young talented players into our roster as well as acquiring important draft capital, while maintaining our commitment as a playoff competitive team.” He said Calgary had long identified Bahl as a priority in making the trade.

“He is a strong defender with size who plays an assertive game with tremendous presence,” Conroy said. “While his 6-6, 230 pound frame is an imposing asset, he uses his body intelligently, has good mobility and makes smart puck decisions. Kevin fits our identity, and we are excited to acquire him now as he can continue to grow with our group.”


AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.



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