Rabid Habs

How Many Years for Markov?

Andrei Markov, once touted as the Montreal Canadiens’ quarterback, is said to have begun contract negotiations with the Habs. Selected 162nd overall at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Markov would like to end his career where it all started – in Montreal.

Given Markov’s age (35) and his history of knee injuries, I wouldn’t entertain the idea of a long term contract. However, the veteran defenseman is supposedly seeking a 3-year contract worth $6M per season.

The Russian defenseman emerged with the Habs after the 2004-05 lockout. Since then, he has consistently finished in the top 5 of Habs scoring. In 2008-09, he finished the season with 64 points – only 1 point behind Alex Kovalev – while having missed the last few games of the season.

Markov’s departure would not only leave a huge hole in Montreal’s defense – but also on its offense – especially on the power play. The Habs would need PK Subban and Nathan Beaulieu to step-up and fill that void.

Andrei Markov may not be as quick as he used to, but his vision and ability to set-up plays are still excellent. Despite his supposedly fragile knees, Markov has only missed one game in the past two seasons. He doesn’t shy away from playing a physical game. He finished 4th in the league for blocked shots (180) (3 more than Josh Gorges) and still logs over 25 minutes per game. He does, however, create many turnovers.

Here are other veteran defensemen’s stats from last season:

Brian Campbell (Florida), $7.1M / 82 – 7 – 30 – 37
Dan Boyle (San Jose), $6.7M / 75 – 12 – 24 – 36
Sergei Gonchar (Dallas), $5.0M / 76 – 2 – 20 – 22
Lubomir Visnovski (Long Island), $4.75M / 24 – 3 – 8 – 11
Ed Jovanovski (Florida), $4.1M / 37 – 1 – 4 – 5

Aside from Campbell, 35 years old, whose offensive output and defensive play are still intact – the others’ have been on the decline since turning 35 years old. How will Markov perform next season? In 2 years? In 3 years?

Markov is undoubtedly a leader on the ice. He is an excellent mentor for Emelin, Beaulieu and Tinordi. Also, unlike what we hear about Russian players, Markov shows up to play every single game.

There is no doubt that Marc Bergevin will have to come to terms with his veteran defenseman otherwise the Habs would be losing a BIG part of the team.

What would be your contract offer to Andrei Markov? Leave us your comments, Tweet us @rabidhabs or post a message on our Facebook page.

(Source: Click here)