For the third time in his 13-season NHL career, Andrei Markov decided not to test the free-agent sweepstakes, instead signing a new three-year, $17.25-million contract with the Canadiens this week. The new deal has a no-trade clause for the first year and a limited-trade clause the next two.
The deal pays Markov $5.75 million per season, the same amount he has been earning for the past seven years on average.
In a one-on-one interview with Markov, The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs asked the 35-year-old defenceman: “After earning the same salary for seven years weren’t you tempted to ask the Canadiens for one more dollar, just so you could say you got a raise?”
“You have to realize you’re getting older,” Markov replied with a laugh. “I feel comfortable in Montreal. My first priority was to sign there. I didn’t think about other (UFA) options.
“Maybe if I go on the free market I can get more. But after the money, maybe I lose more – maybe I lose the atmosphere, the city and the organization of Montreal.
“I’m not the type of guy who likes to change his life completely in hockey,” he added. “What is happening in Montreal right now, I feel like it’s my home. I don’t want to move to another city. Plus, I have a chance to spend the whole of my career on one team. The Canadiens have a great history and it’s nice to be part of that.”
Markov, who has put earlier knee injuries behind him, added: “Now, I feel good. I’m healthy, I know I can play at my level. I’ll try even harder and plus, we have a good team, a good group of guys. I think we’re going to have a good future and I want to be part of that team.”
(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)