On Andrei Markov …
Aivis Kalnins: Andrei Markov signed a two-year deal with Ak Bars Kazan. [Kalnins] thinks that Markov has an opt out clause in his contract for the second year, but unclear at this time.
On the Montreal Canadiens …
Jared Clinton of The Hockey News: There had been some speculation that the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers had some interest in defenseman Andrei Markov before he decided to go to the KHL. Markov said on Thursday that he couldn’t see himself in another NHL jersey.
The Canadiens have brought in defensemen Karl Alzner, Mark Streit, Joe Morrow and David Schlemko this offseason to go along with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn and Brandon Davidson. Not having Markov leaves a hole in the Canadiens blue line, especially his offensive game.
Yes Markov’s initial asking price of two-years and $12 million may have been a bit much, but he appeared to be willing to work with the Canadiens on a one-year deal.
They now have $8.4 million in cap space and could improve their roster with signing a free agent or two. One problem is that there isn’t a free agent that could do what Markov does.
Cody Franson is the top offensive free agent defenseman, but it’s unlikely the Canadiens would add him to their top-four. Dennis Wideman recorded 18 points this past season but struggled defensively. Other available defenseman include Francois Beauchemin, Fedor Tyutin, Eric Gelinas and Cody Goloubef.
The Canadiens could also look at the trade market, but it’s hard to see how they could add a top-four guy.
Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette: In just over a year the Canadiens have lost defensemen – mostly all through trades – P.K. Subban, Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov and Mikhail Sergachev.
The Canadiens do have about two months to continue to improve their roster before the start of the season. GM Marc Bergevin could look to spend some of their available salary cap space on their offense – maybe trading for a No. 1 center.