“The heartbeat was going and I think I held my phone for two or three hours straight just taking calls and talking to my agent going back and forth, but I couldn’t be happier with the end result.”
“Their pitch was great and obviously the contract was fantastic and too good to pass on and I get to play with some Swedish friends,” Markstrom said Tuesday during an appearance on Hockey Central, referring to players like Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm.
He’ll also have a familiar face playing in front of him on the blue line since Markstrom wasn’t the only Canucks player to join the Pacific Division rival Flames. Defenceman Chris Tanev signed a four-year, $18-million deal with Calgary after 10 seasons with the Canucks.
Tanev’s 6.32 blocked shots per 60 minutes ranks 13th-best in the NHL since 2013-14 among players with at least 200 games played, something Markstrom has come to greatly appreciate.
“I’ve been telling guys for years, when I get asked who’s the best player I’ve ever played with I always say Chris Tanev because he plays a similar game to me – just a little bit better skater,” Markstrom joked.
Both Markstrom and Tanev had standout performances during Vancouver’s 17-game playoff run this past summer.
In fact, Markstrom’s 2019-20 campaign was his best NHL season to date. He finished fourth in Vezina Trophy voting with a 23-16-4 record, .918 save percentage, 2.75 goals-against average and two shutouts and stood on his head at times in the playoffs in what was the first post-season action of his NHL career.