Markov May Take Off

Andrei Markov is in the last year of his contract and is scheduled to become an UFA at season’s end. This is a tricky situation for Bob Gainey and the Canadiens. What should they do?These are the basic options.

1-Keep him all year, and lose him to Russia or an NHL rival.

2-Keep him all year and resign him.

3-Trade him to another team for whatever can be had before the deadline.

In the event of 3 happening then they have a chance to resign him in the summer.

4-The best option is to resign him during the year to a deal worth around $4 million a year for 3 or 4 years.

Number one would be a catastrophe for the Habs. He is their best offensive defenceman, and there isn’t really a lot of depth on the team at this position. All of the prospects in the system are defensive defenceman or of lower quality than the enigmatic Russian. Emelin, O Byrne, Archer and Gleed are shut down guys, and Carle and Fisher are still really young.

This must be avoided at all costs. He might also go to Russia. If he wants $5 million a year, well…bye. The Russian National team views Markov as their most important defenceman and his value in the eyes of the Super League teams is commensurate.

Number 2 is risky, because it involves trusting a guy who dosen’t even talk to anybody. The fact that Kovalev, Samsonov and Perezhogin are there might help.

The return in a trade would be less than his value. The chances to resign him would be slim as well.

What could they get in a trade?

Aebischer, Ribeiro, Markov, draft picks and prospects could fetch the big scoring center and a replacement offensive defenceman.

Patrick Marleau in San Jose would be great.

Simon Gagne would also be good for the team. As it stands now he’s unsigned, but I don’t see Philly wanting Markov with Pitkanen there. Aebischer might be good for Florida if Belfour falls apart and Auld is average. Imagine Bouwmeester in Montreal? Aebischer, Markov and a high pick or a prospect like Perezhogin might do it. What do you think?