Canucks' Miller: Demko is among 'best goalies' after dominant month
Thatcher Demko's emergence as the Vancouver Canucks No. 1 option in goal has been a welcome revelation for the club, and his teammates believe his brilliance is no longer a secret after a dominant March.
"I don't know about underrated, but I know he's really good, and we all know he's really good," J.T. Miller said Thursday on Dropping the Gloves podcast. "He's super competitive, practices really hard, and gives us a chance to win every game, and that's all you can really ask for."
Demko has been a steady presence in goal since his incredible playoff run in the bubble, but he took a massive leap in his development this month. The 25-year-old has collected eight wins while posting a .937 save percentage and a 2.15 goals-against average over 11 starts in March.
The California native's also faced one of the heaviest workloads all season on a Canucks' team that's been a wreck defensively. Demko ranks second in shots faced among all netminders and fourth in minutes played, while Vancouver sits among the bottom teams in Corsi For %, shot share, and expected goals share at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.
"He's a huge part of our team, keeps us in a lot of games when we're not bringing our A-game, and he's an awesome guy too," Miller said.
"It's obviously a really bright future for him, and obviously, he's playing like one of the best goalies in the league right now, so we expect nothing less, and I know he's challenged himself to be that guy."
Demko is in line for a new contract following this campaign. Braden Holtby, who the Canucks inked to a two-year, $8.6-million deal in October, has turned into an expensive backup, and Vancouver could look into trading him to clear more cap space for stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, who are also up for new deals this summer.
The Canucks sit sixth in the North Division entering Sunday's action. Vancouver is two points shy of a playoff spot, but the math is heavily against the franchise, with the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens having six games in hand.