Just when you thought the Montreal Canadiens organization couldn’t manufacture more offseason drama… here comes Andrei Markov.
You may recall that Markov, a veteran who had spent his entire career with the Habs organization, had a messy breakup with the team offseason after 16 consecutive seasons in the organization. Markov claimed that the negotiations were all one-sided and that he was presented with a “take it or leave it” offer from Habs general Marc Bergevin. In the end, Markov decided to return to his native Russia and sign a deal with Ak Bars Kazan… evidently that decision turned out well for both Markov and Ak Bars Kazan:
Nevertheless, Markov reached out the Bergevin mid-season to discuss a return to the franchise, but he was still rebuffed. This, according to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta:
In late-Nov, Andrei Markov reached out to the Canadiens, informed Bergevin he was very unhappy in the KHL and wanted to return. I’m told Bergevin told him no. With Weber out 5-6 months, and no options in UFA market, could/should Markov be an option for MTL now?
At the start of negotiations last summer, Markov was willing to agree to a 1-year term. Wanted 2, willing to take 1. Main issue, I’m told, is that he was spoken to “disrespectfully” by GM & talks broke. Markov is again willing to take a 1-year deal now. Will MTL agree? We’ll see.
As Pagnotta points out, top defenseman Shea Weber is expected to be out of the Habs lineup for 5-6 months following offseason knee surgery. Could Markov finally make his return to the team on a one year deal? It certainly seems to make sense on paper and the Russian blue liner seems amenable to a contractual “do over” with the team, but trying to make sense of Bergevin’s thought-process is enough to make your head spin.
It’s clear that there’s a NEED for a player like Markov in the Habs lineup. It’s clear that Markov WANTS to play for the Habs. Where there’s a NEED and a WANT, there should be a match. But again… this is Bergevin and the Habs we’re talking about. There’s no telling what the unpopular GM is planning to do to fill Weber’s void. If it’s anything like the plan to fill the first line center void… Habs fans better gear up for a long, frustrating offseason.