Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jacob Markstrom Autograph Card

Despite a rumoured 4 teams having shown interest, Jacob Markstrom cleared waivers today, meaning the Vancouver Canucks can now assign him to the AHL's Utica Comets.

I had had a 3-card return from Markström in April, where I talked about how often he'd represented Team Sweden internationally despite his young age, and assumed he'd also dress for them at the 2014 World Championships... it turns out I was wrong. Sweden won bronze on the terrific play of New York Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson, and the backup, while also a member of the Canucks, was Joacim Eriksson.

It is therefore pretty safe the say the past 6 months haven't been especially kind to the young goaltender, but he's still just 24, and I still stand by what I said in April:
He has a good butterfly and the perfect size (6'6'' and just under 200 pounds) for his style, a good glove hand, good agility and covers his angles well. With a proper goaltending coach to look for the best angle to put his legs in, he'll be able to cover up the five-hole and reach the space next to the post accurately enough to only have to work on his blocker-side and lateral push for the next decade or so.
We're talking about a guy who's possibly ranked between the 50th and 70th in the world at his position, and a few very slight tweaks could bring him up to top-15 level in just months.

I do have a suspicion as to why teams allowed him to go through waivers, though: the Montréal Canadiens still have Dustin Tokarski in camp, and he could be made available for trade or via waivers in the next few days as well, and teams really liked how he handled the pressure of not just playing in Montréal, but performing well in the Eastern Conference Finals while handling the toughest job in the NHL.

I'd like to think Markstrom has a higher potential ceiling than Tokarski, but Tokarski is currently ahead in his development curve. We'll see how this plays out in just a few days anyway.

In the meantime, I thought I could feature this card from Panini's 2013-14 Crown Royale set (#SO-JM of the Sovereign Sigs sub-set), featuring Markstrom with the Florida Panthers' white (away) uniform, but mostly a great view of hs mask - and an on-sticker blue-sharpied autograph:

The foil on the crown and text is actually golden in real life, while the print at the bottom is silver/grey, just as the scan shows. The top of the card is die-cut, which adds to the coolness of the set.

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