The first major domino of the 2024 NHL offseason has finally fallen, and it's been a long time coming. The New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames have finally completed a Jacob Markstrom trade after months of speculation. Markstrom's name had been in the rumor mill for a while now, but the saga is officially over. With this in mind, it's time to hand out grades for the Devils and Flames regarding this deal.

Full Jacob Markstrom trade

The New Jersey Devils have acquired goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames. In exchange, the Flames have acquired defenseman Kevin Bahl and a conditional 2025 first-round pick. Additionally, Calgary has retained 31.3% ($1.875 million) of Markstrom's salary. The condition on the 2025 first-round pick is that the selection is top-10 protected.

Devils acquire Jacob Markstrom

New Jersey has long sought an upgrade in goal. They even attempted to land Markstrom at the NHL Trade Deadline back in March. However, they landed on acquiring Jake Allen and Kaapo Kahkonen at that time. They fared well enough during the final weeks of the regular season. But Markstrom is a clear upgrade over both.

Markstrom had a surgent season in 2023-24 after a down year in 2022-23. He recorded a .905 save percentage with Calgary this season, which is up from his previous .892 mark. But the 34-year-old netminder actually performed better than expected. He had a whopping 28.93 goals saved above expected, 25.3 goals above replacement, and 4.1 wins above replacement, according to Evolving Hockey.

Markstrom played behind a rather poor Calgary defense this past season. And yet, he played extremely well while keeping them from truly bottoming out. Of course, there were stumbles along the way. But the 34-year-old turned in a fantastic performance despite obstacles in his way.

One concern regarding Markstrom is his consistency. While he played well in 2023-24, he didn't do so well in 2022-23. And while he played well in 2021-22, 2020-21 was another story. It seems as if the veteran puck-stopper has an issue with stringing together consistently great seasons. And that's what the Devils are trying to avoid with this trade.

Overall, there is a lot to like for New Jersey here. The cost to acquire Markstrom is a bit steep, given his age and inconsistency. However, they dealt from a position of strength when trading Bahl. And if their new veteran goalie maintains his form, the price should more than justify itself next season.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) guards his net against the Edmonton Oilers during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames trade Jacob Markstrom

This was a move Calgary had to make. They reportedly asked Markstrom to waive his no-movement clause to go to the Devils during the season. However, the trade fell apart, which left the veteran goaltender rather displeased. A move needed to happen this summer, and for the Flames, they did rather well here given the circumstances.

Calgary had to reshape their blueline this summer, and acquiring Bahl aids that goal. He is a 23 year old defenseman with a little bit of NHL experience already. He stands 6'6″, as well, and big defensemen can certainly carve themselves out a role in this league. If he can play minutes right away and continue to develop, the Flames could have a diamond in the rough here.

The first-round pick definitely could have been better. Especially considering that New Jersey owns the 10th overall selection in the 2024 NHL Draft. But Markstrom and the Devils had a ton of leverage. Few teams that would be interested had the means or desire to pay what it would take to acquire Markstrom. And he had the chance to veto a trade to any team he had no interest in playing for.

This allowed New Jersey to essentially wait things out. Calgary had to acquire what they could, and that's how we got to this point. That said, acquiring a first-round pick for a goalie in the back end of his career who struggles with consistency is fine business. The Flames sold high on Markstrom, and they should benefit in the long run.

With this deal, they acquire a potential regular defenseman in Bahl. Additionally, they continue to stock premium draft capital. The Flames have six first-round picks over the next three seasons. Furthermore, they have 15 picks within the first three rounds over the next three years.

This return is certainly not ideal for Calgary. Losing a major piece to their roster is always going to sting. But it's certainly understandable why the Flames made this trade. And it could significantly impact their team in the long run, especially if Bahl develops into a top-four defenseman.

Grades and final thoughts

The Devils receive high marks, while the Flames receive a fine grade. The assets they traded in this deal are assets they can feel comfortable parting with. Additionally, they acquired a clear upgrade to bolster an area of the ice where they struggled in for most of this past season.

Calgary, meanwhile, did well given the circumstances. Markstrom had a full no-movement clause, and the goalie market was limited. Through this lens, the return they received is not too bad. That said, the deal still isn't ideal, and that does bring the grade down a bit.

New Jersey Devils grade: A

Calgary Flames grade: B