Markstrom Smile Feature

When the Calgary Flames had a deal in principle agreed to with the New Jersey Devils there was only one person left to sign off on it: goaltender Jacob Markstrom. The 34-year-old goaltender has a No Movement Clause built into his contract and he was the marquee piece of the trade.

So, when Markstrom was asked to waive that clause, he had to ask himself just one question before signing off.

“You look at the hockey perspective, and it’s like, do you feel like the team can win? And when that's a yes, everything else comes pretty easy,” Markstrom said from his home in Sweden. “When (Calgary) agreed on this deal with New Jersey I was super excited to start this journey.”

That journey will be to fill a much-needed role as the Devils’ No. 1 goaltender. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald publicly identified goaltending as the area of his team as his top player priority in the off-season. He was going “big game hunting.”

Well, that hunt is over, and the prize is Jacob Markstrom.

New Devil Jacob Markstrom shares his thoughts.

“Tom really made a push for me,” he said, “And, you know, when somebody wants you to come play with that team, it makes you feel good. And it doesn't take much more than that, for me to get excited and want to jump on the ship and be a part of it, and hopefully sail it in the right direction.”

Whatever analogy you want to use, be it a journey or righting the ship, Markstrom will play a big part in taking the Devils to their next level. Markstrom brings solidity to a position that has seen a steady rotation without sustained success the past couple of seasons. And equipped with that knowledge, he understands the pressure that comes with it.

“My position, it's important, goaltending is important,” Markstrom said, “You know, the pressure I have on myself is every time you lace your skates up, you want to win the hockey game, you want to be the difference maker, which as a goalie, you have a chance to do that every night.”


In 48 starts last season with the Flames, Markstrom had a 2.78 goals against average and .905 save percentage, his best year came in 2022 when he finished the year in second for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender, off a season of a career-high 37 wins and a career-best 2.22 GAA and .922 save percentage.

Markstrom believes there’s yet another level to his play and that New Jersey will be the opportunity to watch it flourish.

"It is a great challenge for me," he shared. “I want to get pushed, I want to get challenged, to perform my best and I think my best will come out of this for sure.”

Jacob Markstrom speaks with the media.

Markstrom's best is what the Devils will need from him as their big off-season acquisition. After falling short of expectations in 2023-24, there will be plenty of pressure - and eyes - on the team to demonstrate they can make a quick turnaround, where last season was an outlier in a steady upward progression. Especially with one of the roster’s most vital needs now filled with the 6-foot-6 Markstrom, the team appears on the verge of another precipice of sustained success. Markstrom will join 33-year-old Jake Allen, acquired at the 2024 Trade Deadline, as a veteran goaltending duo to shoulder the pressure.

And that’s just fine with the big Swede.

“It's a big team with a high expectation and as a goaltending position, there is pressure on goaltending,” he said, “I've been on teams in Canadian markets, a few of them so, I know what's expected and you know, me as a person too, people that know me know that I just want to win hockey games. And when we don’t win I'm the hardest (critic) of myself, so I'm just super happy and stoked about that going (to New Jersey).”


Markstrom will spend the next few months in Sweden before making the trip to New Jersey. He expects to be in town roughly a month before training camp opens on Sept. 18 to settle in his new environment. Although he doesn’t know anyone on the team, other than a brief training stint with Jesper Bratt a couple of off-seasons ago in Sweden, he’s already exceedingly excited to be a part of the group and what Fitzgerald has been intricately building.

“Me and my family couldn't be happier,” Markstrom said, “Obviously they really wanted me to come and it's, you know, it's always exciting to join a group and a team in an organization like New Jersey Devils.”

“I can’t wait to make it my home.”