So after much speculation and hand-wringing, with fans fretting about cap-space and waning effectiveness and reconstructed knees, the Canadiens went ahead and re-signed Andrei Markov to a three year deal, with a yearly caphit of $5.75M.
I think it’s clear by now that Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien value experience, that they want youngsters to earn their icetime, and not have it handed to them like it has been in Edmonton.
It was telling when in year-end interviews, Marc Bergevin would repeat that Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu had progressed, and were “close”. He obviously doesn’t see a scheduled coronation in September for either guy, they’ll have to be ready to out-compete others to get a job.
They want to win, as opposed to taking losses to improve their draft position. They believe in leadership and veteranship, as was demonstrated when the GM spoke very highly of Brian Gionta at the end of the year.
So that Marc Bergevin re-ups his veteran d-man to the same deal he signed three years ago is not a surprise. We fans might have wanted it to be for a little less, but that’s not realistic for a player who was playing first-pairing minutes, one who wasn’t easing into a secondary role.
If we find that Andrei is losing his effectiveness, being displaced by some of the rookies in the next couple of seasons, we’ll probably be able to flip him at the deadline to a team looking to goose its powerplay. My preference though would be that he finish his career in bleu blanc rouge. Hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Another thought is that now that Andrei is sewed up, it probably means the end for Francis Bouillon. I was a little surprised that he wasn't one of the automatics like George Parros or Douglas Murray who would be told they weren't going to be re-signed, but imagined that he might be kept on the back-burner in case Andrei left as insurance, and maybe even a bargaining tactic to be wielded against him. Now that Andrei's locked up, and because we have a surfeit of lefties on the blue line in Andrei, Josh, Alexei Emelin, Jarred and Nathan, Francis is going to be squeezed out.
To a much smaller degree, this may affect the negotiations with Brian Gionta. With Andrei in the dressing room, and more importantly on the ice, that's another big piece in terms of experience, veteranship. It's not such a dire need any more that Brian must return. Sure, different players, different positions, different brands of leadership, but it would be easier to forego the captain's services now.