This is not the news Canucks fans were hoping to hear before the NHL’s trade deadline.
After going almost the entire day without making any moves, Vancouver surprised everyone when they swapped goalies with New Jersey at the 11th hour, sending Zane McIntyre to the Devils for Louis Domingue. The move left everyone scratching their heads — but then, news regarding All-Star netminder Jacob Markstrom began to trickle out.
TSN1040 revealed on Twitter that Markstrom missed practice on Monday in Montreal for what the team called a “maintenance day.” There was more to it than that, however. According to the Vancouver Sun’s Patrick Johnston, Markstrom has a knee injury that was enough of a concern to make the trade for Domingue.
Benning confirmed the news in the annual trade deadline day press conference.
“Marky got hurt the other night in the Boston game,” Benning told reporters. “It’s a lower-body injury. He woke up the next day and felt OK, but he flew to Montreal and did an MRI this morning. He’s flying back [to Vancouver] tomorrow and meeting with our doctors on Wednesday morning.”
Benning didn’t directly respond to reports that the injury may keep Markstrom out for three to four weeks, but he did add that the team would have a better timeline on Wednesday or Thursday.
A long-term absence for Markstrom could potentially be disastrous for Vancouver’s season. The 30-year-old Swede is having a career year and has been reliable in net all year; he is third in saves made (1,303) and tied with St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington at third for save percentage (.918) among goaltenders who have started a minimum of 40 games.
The Canucks currently occupy the third spot in the Pacific Division with Calgary and Arizona both just two points behind.
With Markstrom out, the spotlight is now on Vancouver’s second-string goalie Thatcher Demko. He is 10-6-2 this season with a 3.03 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. The newly-acquired Domingue, who has started over 120 NHL games for the Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning and Arizona Coyotes, will serve as Demko’s backup while Markstrom recovers.
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