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Markov represents Montreal’s other pricey extension

Aug 24, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

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The Montreal Canadiens spared little expense when it came to locking up crucial defensemen this offseason, yet it’s easy to see why they decided to roll the dice. At least, that certainly seemed to be the case regarding the expensive extensions they inked with P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov.

Naturally, Markov’s price tag doesn’t seem so staggering compared to Subban’s stunning $9 million cap hit, but the 35-year-old is a couple injuries and/or slumps away from drawing serious heat to his three-year, $17.25 million extension.

Considering some struggles in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, that price tag probably would have looked foolish just a summer ago, especially when you combine the inherent risks of a 35+ deal with the veteran blueliner’s unlucky injury history. Still, when you consider Habs Eyes on the Prize’s take on Markov’s most recent year, this deal might just be a bargain (or at least a necessary evil):

Taking into account the tough minutes that Markov was assigned this year, the amount he played, and his age, it’s hard to believe he was able to put up the season he did. Replacing a player of his caliber is essentially impossible, and if Therrien wisely decreases his minutes a couple shifts per game, he’s likely to be fresher and put up better results.

There is almost no way to argue that the Habs aren’t getting fair value here, no matter what deficiencies you think Markov might have in regards to speed. If you look at other defenseman playing at his level at around the same age in Dan Boyle, Kimmo Timonen, or even Sergei Gonchar and Stephane Robidas, 39 seems to be the age where the big drop off happens, and that’s an age the Canadiens don’t have to worry about with this contract.

Both Markov and especially Subban will face significant pressure stemming from the justifiable-yet-undeniable risks that come with their contract extensions, but that doesn’t mean that Montreal GM Marc Bergevin made illogical decisions in either case.

Don’t expect anything but venomous, hindsight-fueled criticisms if Markov’s deal proves to be a flop, though.

  1. bsaures - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    There are several reasons why I think markov will be fine for this contract.

    1) his injury problems are gone. He has played in 190 of 191 games in the nhl khl and olympics since he returned at the end of the 11-12 season. Theres only a hanful of players who have played close to that much since then.

    2) his assets as a player are ones that age well. Strong positioning, passing, and a high hockey iq can cover for the loss of speed he has experienced since coming back. It helps he has good conditioning even y hockey standards.

    3) he excel in all three situations 5 on 5, pp, and pk. If by the end he lacks the footspeed to play high levels of 5 on 5 he can still lead the special teams which could still have him playin 20+ mins a night.

    Unless he gets injured like any other player he should be fine

  2. montrealknowledge - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Markov is slow, HABS have guys in the system, who may not be ready now, but will be before Markov’s contract is done.. Then they’ll be wishing.

  3. elrock7 - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    It is funny there are so many hab fans, not all but lots, who are always ripping the leafs and their front office.

    Markov could have been signed for half that annual salary and for a 2 yr term if they signed him at the trade deadline. They only offered 1 yr, he has a pretty good playoff, and wham, habs get hosed. Subhan would have signed a Jake Gardiner-like contract if offered it before lock-out season, but no. Now they aren’t even smart enough to sign him BEFORE the hearing, and now it could very likely turn out to be a horrible contract for Montreal.

    Great work so far bergevin!

    • bsaures - Aug 25, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      Its pretty easy to chirp when for less than a million more than the leafs Pay a fringe third liner in clarkson the habs can get a dman who is better than any of the leafs dmen

  4. blomfeld - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    The French will be fine …

    Le résultat net est que Markov sera ‘traité’ avec le temps et tous seront bien dans l’avancement. En fait, ceux-là qui veulent penser autrement, font ainsi à leur propre péril !

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