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Canucks, Markstrom to resume contract talks after playoffs

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

The Vancouver Canucks and starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom will put contract negotiations aside until the postseason is finished, general manager Jim Benning said Wednesday.

"I've got a good relationship with Jacob, and you know we talked again yesterday," Benning told Sportsnet, according to "We're going to get something figured out for him. We both decided let's just wait until after the playoffs are done.

"We'll sit down with his agent Pat Morris and with Jacob and we'll get something figured out. We want to keep him on the team. He's been a good goalie for us here the last couple of years and a big part of the team."

Markstrom is coming off a career-best season, going 23-16-4 with a .918 save percentage, a 2.75 goals-against average, and 11.4 goals saved above average. However, the 30-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent.

Even with the cap ceiling staying at $81.5 million, the Canucks still project to hold over $17 million in space. Forwards Tyler Toffoli (UFA) and Jake Virtanen (RFA), as well as defensemen Chris Tanev (UFA) and Troy Stecher (RFA) will be up for new contracts too. Additionally, key building blocks Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will be due for significant raises after next season.

Benning also needs to be mindful of the 2021 Seattle expansion draft. The team can only protect one goalie, so the Canucks could lose Markstrom (if he's re-signed) or the 24-year-old Thatcher Demko to the future division-rival Kraken.

But for now, the present is of the utmost importance, and the Canucks begin their qualifying-round series against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, when they'll rely on Markstrom.

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