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Markstrom: 'My best will come out' after trade to Devils

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

At long last, Jacob Markstrom is a member of the New Jersey Devils, and the veteran netminder is motivated to reach the top of his game for his new team.

"I want to be pushed and I want to be challenged to perform my best, and I think my best will come out of this, for sure," he said during his introductory press conference Wednesday.

After making a not-so-secret run for Markstrom around the trade deadline, New Jersey acquired the 2022 Vezina Trophy runner-up from the Calgary Flames earlier Wednesday in exchange for a protected first-round pick at next year's draft and defenseman Kevin Bahl.

Goaltending was arguably the Devils' biggest weakness last season, and New Jersey has seemingly been trying to fill the position in a meaningful way ever since the end of the Martin Brodeur era.

As a result, Markstrom understands this gig comes with "high expectations."

"This is a big challenge. ... I just want to win hockey games," he said. "If we don't win, I'm the hardest criticizer of myself."

The 34-year-old waived his no-move clause to facilitate the trade, but it doesn't sound like it was a particularly difficult decision.

"You obviously look at the hockey perspective: 'Do you feel like the team can win?' When that's a yes, everything else comes pretty easy," Markstrom said. "New Jersey and (general manager Tom Fitzgerald) really made a push for me. When somebody wants you to come play for that team, it makes you feel good.

"It doesn't take much more than that for me to get excited. I want to jump on the ship and be a part of it and hopefully sail it in the right direction."

The Swede made his NHL debut during a relief appearance in New Jersey back in January 2011 as a member of the Florida Panthers, and his opponent was none other than Brodeur. Markstrom surrendered two goals on 14 shots in a 5-2 loss.

The newest Devil said he remembers "everything" about that contest.

"Having (Brodeur) stand there, you get goosebumps thinking about it. ... It was a lot of good memories," he said. "Maybe there's a meaning behind all of this now for me to put that jersey on where I started my NHL career."

Brodeur is currently serving as the Devils' executive vice president of hockey operations. Markstrom said he received a text from the Hall of Famer after the trade and is looking forward to working with the franchise legend.

"Hopefully I don't ask (him) too many questions," Markstrom joked.

New Jersey will likely rely on Markstrom and backup Jake Allen next season. The two goalies were selected three picks apart in the second round of the 2008 NHL Draft.

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