Markov to Play in the KHL Next Season
"Those 16 years were a big part of my life," he said. "I will never forget my time here."
Adding, "I didn't see myself with any other NHL team. I didn't see myself wearing another jersey. I knew in my heart that I only wanted to sign in Montreal" – Andrei Markov
Some powerful words from the 16 year Montreal Canadiens veteran defender. It is tough to see teams part ways with players like Markov. Clubs are leaning towards new, younger – players they can develop – rather than the veterans who have given their respective NHL teams their identity over the past decade. The same story can be said about Shane Doan and the Arizona Coyotes.
Markov has played a pivotal role on the Canadiens blue line since I can remember. He ranks second all time for points by a defensemen while wearing the blue and red, and also ranks sixth all time for games played for the Canadiens. The offensive minded defensemen has been the quarterback of the Montreal power play and has put up some impressive point totals from the back end. Last season, Markov was averaging over 22 minutes a game. The reason behind the split by the organization is a bit of a head scratcher… the Canadiens were looking to fill the left side of the D core, not deflate it? After the Mark Streit signing – it was obvious that Markov would not be returning for a 17th season.
2nd all time in points by a D-man (trailing Larry Robinson)
2nd all time in games played by a Canadiens D-man (trailing Larry Robinson)
6th all time for games played by a Canadiens player
Markov will head over seas to play in the KHL and eventually retire on his home soil. The move poses an interesting situation for Markov as he is now eligible to represent the Russian hockey squad for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
What’s Next for the Canadiens?
The burden of losing Alexei Emelin AND Andrei Markov over the course of a month (both left handed D-men) creates a rather large hole for management to fill. Insert a few acquistions and voila! Here are the projected lines for the new look Montreal Canadiens D-core.
Karl Alzner, Shea Weber
David Schlemko, Jeff Petry
Mark Streit, Jordie Benn