The Habs have resigned Andrei Markov to a 3 year contract worth $17.75 million, which breaks out to approximately $5.91 million per year.
While a fantastic blue-liner, Markov has been notably absent of late. He’s had the same knee rebuilt twice, and missed the majority of last seasons due to injury. Not just any injury… a re-injury. He had work done on a knee, which promptly went out on him again not 7 games into the 2010-2011 season.
I like the guy, I really do. He plays hard, is a physical presence on a generally small Habs team, has a blistering shot and usually a strongly-positive plus/minus. When he plays, he’s great. When he plays.
Three years isn’t an eternity. Far from it; in the days of 10-year NHL contracts and the salary cap, 3 years is mercifully short in comparison. However, 3 years is a long time when there is really no guarantee that he’ll be healthy for more than a couple of games per season.
At this point, Markov needs to go back to the proof-of-concept stage. He wants to stay in Montreal, and we really don’t want him going anywhere else. However, with his history of injuries, I’m not sure anyone else would take him and his $5.91 million price tag.
The Habs should have gone one year at $5.91 million, with a mandatory extension of 3 more years provided he is healthy (plays “x” number of games during the season). This would give Markov the security he wants (and an extra year on the contract), but also give the Habs a way to walk away from the salary (and the cap hit) if Markov limps away from another season.