Seattle – Jacob Markstrom seems close to answering growing calls for some rest.
Daryl Sutter has been talking all season about keeping a number in mind about how many minutes his star Netminder will be capped.
The Flemish coach finally revealed those numbers in a one-on-one interview with Sportsnet.ca, just before the Flemish ended their first three-game sweep in California.
“If it’s a 60, 61, 62 game, as far as minutes go, I won’t let him pass a certain number,” Sutter said. “Unless he gets hurt or sick. I don’t even think about it. “
Sutter, who insists his goalkeeping cap revolves around minutes, not the start, as Markstrom has started 56 times this season, a total of 3,328 minutes.
If Markstrom had played the equivalent of 62 games, he would have reached 3,720 minutes.
He has 392 minutes left to play, which is equivalent to six and a half more matches.
With 11 games remaining on the Flemish schedule, Sutter will want to start Vladar four or five more times, if not more. An even closer to the split, which will please many fans.
With two more back-to-back situations remaining on Flems’ schedule, it won’t be difficult for Markstrom to shut down many more nights.
Then again, when it comes to Sutter’s past, there are no rules about giving netminders a rest.
Remember, he played Mikka Kiprusov in 74 games in one year and Jonathan Quick started 68 and 72 times in a row.
He will sit down with Markstrom if he thinks the goaltender really needs a break, but the backup will balance the decision based on being comfortable being able to help keep pace with the playoffs.
Dan Vladar has done well to take care of that second half going 10-5-1 this season with a 2.78 GAA and .906 save percentage.
His 31-save performance in Thursday’s win should have boosted the 24-year-old’s confidence, as both of the goals he conceded came from unexpected bounces from opponents in front of the net.
Sutter said he would rely on Markstrom’s information to help determine how many fans are concerned about the possibility that his flames could ignite, as some believe he was late in the season as Canuck.
“You have to balance the schedule and see how he feels,” Sutter said. “If I find comfort in our conversation, he will tell me. That’s the way it works. Talk to Barbs (goal coach Jason Labarbera) about how we see it.
Marcstrom’s troubles came in a series of 60 appearances towards the end of his time in Vancouver, followed by a 43-game season in 2019-20.
The maximum of his career is 3,599 minutes, which is just below the cap set for him.
The trick is to find a competitor like Markstrom who will be approaching the need or desire to sit in some extra game.
“I feel right,” said Markstrom, 32, when asked how he was feeling after his second straight win at Anaheim on Tuesday. “It’s all about winning this time of year. It’s a lot of hockey and we’re having fun. It’s fun to win the night again. I was a little rough stretched but now we’re fine. “
This “rough stretch” allows him to score a few questionable goals as part of a three-game losing skid before heading off the road.
Soft goals have become a big topic of discussion as they were a rarity this season for someone who should be considered strong as a Virginia finalist.
He is still 33-14-8 with a 2.18 GAA and .924 save percentage, which puts him among the league leaders in all three divisions.
Suffice it to say, he will be the key to any Flemish plan this spring.
Its importance explains why many are worried about their star Netminder entering the playoffs in top shape.
So go ahead and make your guess as to when, and if, Sutter will actually manage Markstrom’s minutes a little closer.