Breaking down the Jacob Markstrom and Pierre-Luc Dubois trades

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
22 days ago
We’re in the middle of a summer heat wave and this isn’t just your typical weather forecast. Jacob Markstrom was moved to the New Jersey Devils, while Pierre-Luc Dubois was acquired by the Washington Capitals in two atypical summer blockbusters. Count this as the NHL’s version of Barbenheimer — although that’s perhaps giving the league office too much credit.
In case you missed it, here’s what happened across the league today:
All stats from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick 

Devils acquire Jacob Markstrom from Flames

Relative to preseason expectations, the New Jersey Devils were this year’s most disappointing team with their bright prospectus flattened by some atrocious goaltending. There are no excuses now. Jacob Markstrom is heading to the Devils, as the Flames received Kevin Bahl and a 2025 top-10 protected pick. Calgary will retain 31.25 percent of Markstrom’s salary so New Jersey is responsible for a $4.125 million cap hit entering 2024-25.
Daily Faceoff’s Mike Gould gave the Devils an ‘A’ for their work here and I second Professor Gould’s assessment. It cost New Jersey next to nothing to acquire Markstrom and there’s a contingency built into the pick in the event that the club falters badly for the second consecutive year. Markstrom faced some of the largest volume in the league last year but still saved two goals above expected and 14 high-danger goals above expected at 5-on-5 via Natural Stat Trick — his .905 save percentage is almost a misnomer when you consider Calgary traded away defensive mainstays Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and Noah Hanifin through the course of the year. He is a massive upgrade over Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid, Nico Daws, while trade deadline acquisition Jake Allen barely made a dent upon joining the team.
Markstrom has struggled during the playoffs in previous years, but this is a fresh start. New Jersey built one of the deepest cores in the league, with Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier to enter their respective primes. They didn’t have to trade a marquee young asset in Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz to get their No. 1 goalie, the scarcest resource in hockey. Sheldon Keefe has no excuses during his first year on the turnpike.
As for the Flames? They are now well into their rebuild and you can ignore their own internal projections of competing for a playoff spot. Get your tanks ready and be prepared to watch a ton of James Hagens and Michael Misa clips over the next 12 months! 
Next year is all about acquiring a top-three pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, as Hagens or Misa would likely would’ve gone No. 1 in this summer’s event. Bahl is a towering defenseman with a physical presence and New Jersey controlled just under 52 percent of the expected goals when he was on the ice at 5-on-5 last season. He’s just 23 years old, he’s healthy and durable but he contributes minimal offense, posting one goal and 12 points in 82 games last season. Bahl is a quality player but you have to imagine that the Flames ought to have done better, especially dealing with a talent-rich team like the Devils. Calgary is making a calculated bet that New Jersey’s pick will convey and it will have two assets in a rich draft class, along with the notion that Markstrom’s best days are behind him.
It’s a calculated bet by both parties but from our vantage point: advantage, Devils! 

Capitals, Kings engage in 1-for-1 Dubois-Kuemper swap

Straight up! Yes, the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings pulled off the exceedingly rare 1-for-1 trade, swapping goaltender Darcy Kuemper for forward Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Dubois was a sunk cost for the Kings and was exceptionally disappointing, especially when you consider that the organization leveraged a host of their young assets (Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, Gabriel Vilardi) in order to acquire him from the Winnipeg Jets last June. Nearly a year to the day after signing an eight-year extension worth $68 million, the Kings parted with ways with Dubois, who was supposed to be a bridge between the team’s Cup-winning stars in Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, to the prime-era stars in Kevin Fiala and Adrian Kempe.
The 26-year-old posted 16 goals and 40 points in 82 games and Los Angeles controlled 54 percent of the expected goals when he was on the ice at 5-on-5, but he couldn’t drive a line. He followed up with one point in five playoff games against the Edmonton Oilers, spurring numerous rumours about a potential buyout. For now, you can pencil him in a top-nine role subject to fluctuation or more simply, if he returns to previous form, Dubois can play against top-six competition provided he benefits from the change of scenery.
“Well, I don’t think I did a good enough job of integrating him in the right roles on the team here this year,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said of Dubois. “You know, I think it wasn’t a great fit in that aspect for us, and we’ll take responsibility for that.”
Kuemper is coming off a tough season where he saved -1.73 goals above expected for a Capitals team that didn’t appear to be contending but snuck into the playoffs with a negative goal differential. How much does the 34-year-old have left in the tank? That’s the critical question for the Kings. In a similar fashion to the Devils, Los Angeles was looking for more reliable goaltending and now he enters a three-way time share alongside Pheonix Copley and David Rittich. He’s also capable of winning a Stanley Cup, providing league-averaging goaltending for a loaded Colorado Avalanche team that won it all in 2022.
The problem is Kuemper’s $8.5 million cap hit, which runs through 2031. Kuemper is 34, it’s unlikely he’s an NHL-caliber goalie by the time his contract expires and it’s nearly impossible to bury him. For the Kings to receive any asset for Dubois, perhaps they frame it as a win. Kuemper will be expected to provide value immediately before this turns into another headache for Blake.

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