Devils Land No. 1 Goalie, Send 1st-Round Pick to Flames

Jacob Markstrom

Getty Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames

After an exhaustive search that spanned multiple seasons, the New Jersey Devils finally got their No. 1 goaltender.

The team announced on June 19 that they had acquired 34-year-old netminder Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Kevin Bahl and New Jersey’s first-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft (top-10 protected). Calgary will be retaining 31.25% of Markstrom’s remaining contract, which after this season, has two years left on a six-year, $36,000,000 ($6,000,000 average annual value) deal originally signed with the Flames on October 9, 2020.

The fact that New Jersey made the first big trade of the 2024 offseason is hardly a surprise, considering Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald teased after the March 8 trade deadline that he would be going “big-game hunting” this summer. Fitzgerald also told’s Mike Morreale as recently as June 4 that he was “in the goalie market” and that he would even be open to trading the No. 10 pick in this year’s Draft for the right price.

Markstrom, Devils Get Second Chance After Trade With Calgary Fell Through at Deadline

Markstrom and the Devils had been linked in trade conversations ever since the trade deadline, when a rumored deal between Calgary and New Jersey never came to fruition. According to several reports, Markstrom had waived his no-move clause to go to New Jersey back in March and was unhappy that the trade plans suddenly changed after the Flames couldn’t get the deal over the finish line in time.

“I think it could have been handled a lot different from up top,” Markstrom said after the deadline, per Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.

Markstrom remained New Jersey’s top trade target, however, and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported after the deadline deal fell through that the Devils were prepared to wait into the summer to revisit a trade with Calgary.

Devils’ Goaltending Upgrade Addresses Major Organizational Need

Fitzgerald’s aggressive pursuit of Markstrom addresses one of the Devils’ biggest organizational needs as they aim to contend for a Stanley Cup – namely, upgrading at the goalie position. The Devils allowed 3.43 goals per game in 2023-24, tied for 26th in the NHL, and 33-year-old Jake Allen is the only one of the five goalies to play for New Jersey this season who is under contract for 2024-25.

The price of acquisition was also a reasonable one for the Devils, who didn’t have to take on Markstrom’s full salary or part with any of their top forward prospects. New Jersey has more than half of its total salary cap hit in 2024-25 tied up in five core forwards – all of whom are signed to long-term contracts – not to mention defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who is the team’s highest-paid player at $9 million per year and under contract through 2027-28.

“To bring Markstrom in with salary retention is a win for the Devils, who have a lot of cap space dedicated to their core players,” The Athletic’s Shayna Goldman wrote. “The two-year term also works in their favor considering how many long-term deals are already on the books in New Jersey. The Devils avoid overcommitting on a position that has burned them so many times while adding the stability they need to contend.”

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