Canucks' Demko ready to take 'next step' after dominant postseason
Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

With longtime Vancouver Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom signing in Calgary, Thatcher Demko is poised to play a larger role this season following his incredible 2019-20 playoff performance.

"I think last year was a good year for me to go through some ups and downs and learn a little bit more about what it's like to be (in the NHL) full time," Demko said, according to Sportsnet's Iain MacIntyre.

He added, "I feel really confident going into this year. I'm right where I want to be in my career right now. I think there's a lot on the table, and I'm just really excited to get the opportunity (to) take that next step. I want to be in Vancouver as long as I can. I want to be the guy. This is the next step in that direction."

Demko allowed just two goals on 130 shots against the high-powered Vegas Golden Knights to finish with an absurd .985 save percentage over four playoff appearances. The 24-year-old picked up consecutive wins - including a 48-save shutout in Game 6 - to help the Canucks erase a 3-1 series deficit and push the series to the limit.

After struggling to find his consistency during the regular season, Demko recognized the importance of seizing his chances in the bubble.

"When that second opportunity came around in the playoffs, it was like: OK, I've been in this situation before. I learned a ton the first time around and now these games are even bigger," he said. "I was able to kind of settle in and just be a lot more confident in myself after learning from my failures. I knew the second time around, I wasn't going to make the same mistakes."

Demko is entering the final year of his current deal - which carries an annual cap hit of $1.05 million - and will become a restricted free agent after this season. The Canucks added veteran puck-stopper Braden Holtby on a two-year pact this offseason, and the two will likely split time between the pipes.

Canucks' Demko ready to take 'next step' after dominant postseason
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