Flames’ Markstrom says rumours could have been handled ‘different from up top’

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom let his feelings be known regarding having his name swirl in trade rumours, saying that he respects everyone in the locker room but that he's unhappy with the way the front office has handled the situation.

After trading Nikita Zadorov, Elias Lindholm and Chris Tanev this season, the Calgary Flames are surely looking at more turnover ahead of the March 8 trade deadline.

Aside from Noah Hanifin, who will almost certainly be moved in the coming days, perhaps the most interesting question mark on the Flames’ future is former Vezina finalist Jacob Markstrom.

Though the netminder has two years and change left on his contract — signed by former general manager Brad Treliving — the Flames are seemingly beginning a retool, and while it’s hard to know the motives of Markstrom himself, it’s reasonable to wonder whether the 34-year-old is prepared to take a step back in the pursuit of a Stanley Cup.

Markstrom’s name was linked to a few teams around the league, contending and otherwise, that desperately need consistency between the pipes — the New Jersey Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes among them. As we get closer to the deadline and the Flames have started stringing wins together, however, it seems less and less likely that he will be on the move come next week.

When asked by Sportsnet’s Eric Francis following Friday’s practice about the trade rumours swirling around him and the team, Markstrom appeared to take a slight shot at management.

“Everyone in here, every player in here, everything that’s been going on and not going on, and how everyone in this room has handled everything. … I think it’s been really good,” Markstrom said. “And then the whole situation and everything — am I happy about that? No, I’m not. I think it could have been handled a lot different from up top.”

The veteran goaltender has a no-move clause through to the end of his contract, so his future is largely in his hands — he needs to waive that clause in order for the Flames to be able to make a trade.

As he’s been playing dominant hockey of late, keeping the Flames on the fringes of the wild-card race despite their seller status, he’s refused to comment on his trade rumours surrounding him.

Markstrom signed a six-year, $36-million contract in 2020 as a free agent after spending seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Markstrom had his career-best year in 2021-22, with a .922 save percentage and 2.22 goals-against average that earned him a spot amongst Vezina finalists and Calgary a trip to the Western Conference semifinals.

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