Canucks Swap Goalies: Markstrom To AHL, Eriksson Recalled

In some minor news following yesterday’s set-back against the Los Angeles Kings, the Vancouver Canucks today announced some minor roster tweaks – sending goalie Jacob Markstrom back to the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League and summoning Joacim Eriksson from Utica.

Markstrom, 25, has been with the Canucks since being recalled on February 23 following the injury to Ryan Miller. Since his recall, he’s played once – giving up three goals on four shots in 7:45 against the San Jose Sharks on March 3 – and sat on the bench for seven games. It doesn’t make sense for him to stay up if he’s not going to play, not to mention his performance in a key playoff battle against the Sharks probably didn’t do much to give Canucks brass confidence in him. He returns to a Utica Comets club rounding into playoff form.

Eriksson, 24, gets his first taste of NHL action this season, though most likely (like Markstrom) he’ll be primarily relied upon as a back-up to Eddie Lack until Miller makes his return. He gave up six goals in his lone NHL appearance to-date, a 9-1 shellacking of the Canucks by the Anaheim Ducks last January. He has been strong in the AHL, though, with a 17-10-5 record with a 2.61 goals against average and .907 save percentage in 34 appearances.

  • Steampuck

    Great. So what this means is we’ll run poor Eddie Lack into the ground again. And then start next year lamenting his abysmal numbers and how he cracks under pressure. And that he’s not a quality NHL starter. Can we skip all that nonsense? And maybe just take his numbers from now as a reasonable indication of his abilities? And give him some help?

  • Vanoxy

    A perplexing move, one has to think that this could severely hurt not only Markies trade value, but also his confidence.

    Not getting the chance to redeem himself seems like a mistake to me, though to be fair, I am just an obsessive fan and not really qualified or fully informed.

    • Larionov18

      Comets need Markstrom. He is the better goalie. Canucks want the comets to go on a run so maybe McCann or Jake gets to play a few games with the Comets. Only reason I can think of.

  • Vanoxy

    It will be good to get Markstrom some playing time, but I was hoping he’d get a chance to improve on his .250 save percentage and ~23 GAA in the NHL.
    Those kind of stats are scary, even with a miniscule sample size.

    Toronto would have been a good chance to get him into a game.

    Looks like it’s gonna be “Eddie or bust.”

    • Steampuck

      Maybe. But I can’t help thinking Canucks needs will get priority over Utica’s. The message here is that Markstrom won’t be seeing any action with the big team in the near future. Which is a shame. I liked the idea of trying to get him another start against some softer opposition. It’s also possible that Eriksson will get a look, too. He might lack the hype surrounding Markstrom, but his numbers have been solid and he seems to be fairly consistent.

      I guess, too, that there aren’t any easy games at this point in the season. The Canucks can ill afford to risk throwing Markstrom in against anyone if he’s going to play like a sieve with a hole in it. Every two points will be crucial.

  • Larionov18

    4 shots. That’s all Markstrom gets. Let’s be sure to weigh those 4 shots more than the 732 that he’s faced –at an elite level– in Utica this year. Running Eddie into the ground again. Idiots.

  • peterl

    Eddie Lack shouldn’t be playing every game until Ryan Miller comes back. It makes sense to pace Lack through this stretch and let either Markstrom or Ericsson play when required. Both Markstrom and Ericsson could leave the Canucks this offseason if they desired. Letting them play in the NHL is good asset management to retain their services and value. And this also gives Eddie Lack a much needed rest when required.

    I would have thought Markstrom would get the Arizona game last week and this Toronto game on Saturday. Instead Eddie Lack has taken all the games.

  • peterl

    Doesn’t really matter as this transaction was going to happen within the next 2 weeks anyways. Markstrom has already been up for two weeks and is halfway towards the 30 day mark. Management probably saw enough to know he isn’t really for a full start so might as well give Eriksson a chance to play backup while Markstrom gets ready for the Calder Cup playoffs.

  • peterl

    Another interesting thought I saw somewhere else was that this move was to get Markstrom a few games in before being sent back up to play one of next weeks back-to-back games… I still feel that this is just too many games in a row for Lack though.

    Both goalies are in a bit of a tough situation. Eddie goes from playing once every few weeks to almost nightly, and Markstrom has done the opposite.

    • Ruprecht

      This. Not sure why all the panic and jumping to conclusions hit this thread. It’s a pretty common move within the league to get some playing time for a back-up who has been sitting. Goalie is a timing position, so it doesn’t make sense to let one sit for too long and lose that timing. It has more to do with the nature of the beast rather than an intent to run Eddie into the ground.

      And seriously, by this point in any goalie’s career, if they can’t handle the workload down the stretch then they need more help than we can give. So I highly doubt we’re running any risks with burning out Lack. He should be in great shape by this point in the season, and used to the nature of his position. Which is also a common one for a back-up, feast or famine.

      The first couple of comments on this board make it sound like we’re the only club that ever goes through this with our goaltending. You don’t hear Ranger fans with complaints about Talbot basically being thrown into the same scenario.

  • Ruprecht

    If they aren’t going to play the backup much anyway they might see this as an opportunity to cycle their goalies through the Rollie Melanson training camp. There aren’t any back to back games until the end of the month anyway and that has been the m.o. throughout the season for when they play the backup.