According to Tony Marinaro of TSN 690 Radio, the Montreal Canadiens have offered Andrei Markov a one year deal worth over six million dollars to stay in Montreal next season.
The Markov situation is going to be a delicate one for Habs General Manager Marc Bergevin to deal with. On the one hand, you don’t want to keep the power play quarterback and have the team fall out of the playoff race and then watch him sign elsewhere in the offseason.
So do you trade him?
Well, it will be tough for Bergevin to do that, as the Canadiens are fourth overall in the Eastern Conference. Teams that are in the top four of a conference rarely trade away their second best defenseman.
If the Habs trade Markov for futures and then miss the postseason, or lose in the first round, Bergevin would have to answer to the critics as to why he threw in the towel at the trade deadline. The Hockey News believes now is the best time to pull the trigger on a move.
Markov is having a good season, and is looking to sign long term. Just because the Habs offered him a one year deal does not mean he will take that and pass on going to market on July 1st. If Markov is not re-signed and becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, teams will line up to give the offensive defenseman a three year contract.
The biggest problem with locking the veteran up for three years is that he is 35 years old. Not only does that mean his best seasons are behind him and a decline in production is on the horizon, but he also falls into the 35+ contract terms in the NHL. If Markov signs a three year deal and retires after one season, his cap hit remains on the books for the two seasons he does not even play.
There are many risks in signing Markov to a contract beyond this season, especially the three year deal he is reportedly searching for. A lot will be made about this situation between now and the trade deadline which is only eight days away, but don’t expect a trade to occur.
Montreal will likely hold on to their top pairing defenseman and try to convince him to sign a one year deal. If he refuses, you could see his rights dealt to a team that could use a power play boost at the NHL Draft in June for a low round pick.
It may not sound like a lot, but hey, the Habs got Charles Hudon for James Wisniewski’s rights at the 2011 draft.