Flames’ Markstrom a Vezina Finalist
After another strong performance in a massive playoff win, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom woke up today to plenty of accolades.
He earned rave reviews for Monday night’s 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars, helping the Flames even their series in Round One of the NHL playoffs.
But he also woke up to discover he is among the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender in the regular season.
“Right now, not much,” the low-key goalie said about the award nomination when he landed in Calgary on Tuesday. “It’s all about (Game 5).”
The NHL’s general managers vote on the award.
Markstrom was considered a lock after backstopping his team to a Pacific Division title. The 32-year-old Swedish export led the league with nine shutouts in his second season with the Calgary Flames. He had career highs with a .922 save percentage, 2.22 goals-against average, and 37 wins. He ranked in the top five in all categories, including minutes played.
Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers are also in the running for the award after stellar seasons.
All three goaltenders were in the playoffs. However, an injury prevented Saros from participating in the Preds’ sweep at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.
Markstrom backed Flames to incredible finish
Not that the post-season results matter. The votes are gathered based on the regular season and winners will be announced during the Stanley Cup Final. While Shesterkin has been the front-runner all season, Markstrom has made a strong case. He helped the Calgary Flames to the second-best finish in franchise history with 111 points in the regular season. Frequently playing in back-to-back situations, he established himself as an NHL unicorn in terms of his abilities.
“The nomination – hey, it’s deserving,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. “He’s in the Top 5 in every major category and we talked about at the start of the year about what our goals were, one of the goals was making sure getting the goals-against to be in the Top 5 in the league. That would give us an opportunity to be a playoff team. Marky has certainly carried the flag there.”
Markstrom is the first Flames player to be a finalist for the award since Miikka Kiprusoff in 2006-07. Kiprusoff won the Vezina the previous season. He was the first member of the Calgary Flames to take home the award. Markstrom previously finished fourth in Vezina voting in 2020, and 10th in 2019, while with the Vancouver Canucks.
With the Predators eliminated and Shesterkin’s New York Rangers on the brink trailing 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Markstrom would likely be happy to settle for the last goalie standing in the NHL playoffs.