The Canadiens tonight announced they’ve re-signed defenceman Andrei Markov to a three-year contract. It’s reported to be worth $5.75 million per year.
Gazette story, team release below it:
ST. PAUL – Ninety minutes after general manager Pierre Gauthier said there was no urgency in signing defenceman Andrei Markov, the Canadiens announced Thursday night that the 32-year-old has signed a three-year contract worth $17.25 million. The $5.75 million cap hit represents Markov’s salary in his last contract.
The length of the contract was a bit of a surprise because there are question marks surrounding Markov’s health. He has played only 52 games over the past two seasons and is coming off his second major knee reconstruction.
The signing gives the Canadiens 16 players under contract with a commitment of nearly $48.5 million. The salary cap for the coming season was announced Thursday and will be $64.3 million. That means the Canadiens have approximately $15.8 million to spend and will have some extra cash after signing defenceman Josh Gorges, a backup goaltender and some spare forwards.
Stability was the key word Thursday as Gauthier discussed the Canadiens’ off-season moves.
“If you look at our team, we had only five players who were with the team three years ago,” he said on the eve of the National Hockey League entry draft draft. “We ranked 23rd in the league in terms of experience as a team and I think one of our goals is to build on what we have.”
If you read between the lines, Gauthier is saying that we shouldn’t expect to see Montreal involved in any blockbuster trades like the deals Thursday which saw the Philadelphia Flyers create cap room for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov by trading Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
Gauthier has been busy in the past week, signing Max Pacioretty, Mathieu Darche and David Desharnais before re-signing Markov.
He suggested that there was no urgency to the negotiations with Markov and pointed to last summer when talks with Carey Price dragged on.
“If you remember, we didn’t have a goaltender but we finally reached an agreement with Mr.Price on Sept. 1,” said Gauthier.
There’s one difference in the two cases – Price was a restricted free agent and Montreal was in a position to match any offer sheet. In Markov’s case, he could have started entertaining offers next Friday.
The Canadiens finished the season with 11 defenceman and Markov, Hal Gill, P.K. Subban and Jaroslav Spacek are the only players in that group who are signed for next season. Gauthier said he hasn’t reached the point where he has ruled out any of the players but that will change with Markov’s signing.
“We’re keeping all our options open,” he said.
As for priorities in the draft, Gauthier went to the GM’s book of clichés when he said: “We’ll take the best player available regardless of position.”
Gauthier did say that, while he’ll listen to any offers that would allow the Canadiens to move up in the draft, he’s confident that the Canadiens will find a quality player at No. 17.
“Our scouts tell me this is a deep draft and we’re confident that we can get a player who’s as good as players in the top 10,” he said.
The Canadiens don’t have a second-round pick but Gauthier noted that the acquisition of prospect Michael Bournival made up for the gap. Bournival was acquired in a trade for Ryan O’Byrne.
MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of defenseman Andrei Markov to a three-year contract (2011-12 to 2013-14). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased that Andrei has made the decision to pursue his career with the Montreal Canadiens. A player drafted and developed by our organization, Andrei brings a high level of talent and leadership to our team. We look forward to having him back in our lineup for the start of the upcoming season,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.
Markov, 32, completed in 2010-11 his 10th season with the Canadiens in the NHL. The defenseman registered three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in seven games. He served four penalty minutes and maintained a +2 plus/minus differential, while averaging 22:54 seconds of ice time per game. Markov suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee on November 13 against Carolina.
Since 2000-01, Markov has registered 366 points (81 goals, 285 assists) in 623 NHL regular-season games. The 6’0’’, 209 lbs defenseman has recorded 361 penalty minutes and maintained a +31 plus/minus differential. Markov has scored 41 of his goals on the powerplay and two on the penalty kill. He has accumulated 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in 49 career NHL playoff contests.
A native of Voskresensk, Russia, Markov was the Canadiens’ sixth pick (third round, 162nd overall) at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He was part of the Russian team at the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.