Habs will struggle without Andrei Markov

Markov.jpgPittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens

2:00 p.m. EDT, 2 May, 2010


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While the Pittsburgh Penguins are dealing with an injury of their
own, the Canadiens are going to have to try to find some way to replace
one of their top defensemen. After taking out the Capitals in seven
games, trying to do the same with the Penguins without Andrei Markov is
going to be near impossible.

After a big, clean hit by Matt Cooke
that sent Markov awkwardly into the boards, the defensemen has been sent
back to Montreal for further testing and evaluating and there’s no word
on just how long he may be out.

For the Canadiens, a team that
relied on stellar defense, goaltending and timely power play goals, the
loss of Markov could prove devastating. After his injury in the first
period of Game 1, it was painfully obvious how disjointed the Habs’
defensive group became.

While the defense certainly paid a painful
price for not being able to makeup for the loss of Markov, it was on
the power play that his absence was felt the most.

The
Canadiens had a couple of chances to get back in the game on Friday
while on the power play, but without Markov running the point the Habs
threatened to give the Nashville Predators a run for their money for the
most hapless special teams unit of the playoffs.

The Penguins
will struggle to find ways to replace Staal, but I doubt the Canadiens
will be able to find a way to pick up for Markov on the blueline.

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    Carolina re-signs ‘physical, smart’ McGinn — two years, $1.775 million

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    After a breakout campaign, Brock McGinn has cashed in with the Hurricanes.

    McGinn has signed a two-year, $1.775 million extension, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal carries a $887,500 average annual cap hit, and comes on the heels of a campaign in which he scored 16 points in 57 games, averaging 12 minutes per night.

    “Brock took a step forward last season and was a regular presence in our lineup,” GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He is a young player who plays a physical, but smart brand of hockey, and can contribute offensively.”

    McGinn, 23, is the youngest of the McGinn brothers. Tye spent last year with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, while Jamie wrapped the first of a three-year deal in Arizona.

     

    Avalanche re-sign Andrighetto to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.8 million

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    Sven Andrighetto was one of the few bright spots on the Colorado Avalanche this past season — and he didn’t even join the last-place club until the beginning of March.

    On Wednesday, he was rewarded with a new two-year contract extension,  reportedly worth a total of $2.8 million, per Adrian Dater of BSN Denver. That’s a raise from the $650,000 he made in 2016-17 while on a one-year contract and a pending restricted free agent at its conclusion.

    Originally taken by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft, the now 24-year-old Andrighetto was traded to Colorado at this year’s deadline, after scoring just two goals and eight points in 27 games this season with the Habs.

    While the Avalanche was once again mired in a disastrous campaign, falling all the way to the bottom of the overall standings, Andrighetto put up some impressive numbers in a short amount of time in Colorado, leading the team in points (11 points in 14 games) during the month of March.

    He scored five goals and 16 points in 19 games following the trade, while posting strong offensive and puck possession numbers in nearly 200 minutes of five-on-five time with Nathan MacKinnon.

    “We were pleased with what Sven added to our team at the end of last season,” said Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic in a statement. “He sees the ice well and brings speed and scoring to our lineup. We’re excited to have him under contract.”

    Signing pending RFA Parayko is priority for Blues — and it won’t be cheap

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    The St. Louis Blues kickstarted their prospects camp on Wednesday, however their greatest offseason priority right now is getting pending restricted free agent defenseman Colton Parayko under contract.

    The Blues recently extended Parayko a qualifying offer to retain his negotiating rights, and general manager Doug Armstrong is fully aware that the 24-year-old defenseman will require a significant raise from the two-year, $1.85 million (including $925,000 in NHL salary this past season) entry-level deal he has now concluded.

    In two seasons, Parayko has transformed into a valuable player with the Blues. He not only brings size on the blue line at an intimidating 6-foot-6 tall and 226 pounds, but he’s been a strong contributor in the offensive end of the rink and boasts impressive puck possession numbers, as well.

    He set new single-season career highs for assists (31) and points (35) with the Blues in 2016-17, while taking on a larger role as a top-four defenseman behind Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo.

    “We’ve got a defenseman to take care of financially,” said Armstrong, per NHL.com’s Lou Korac. “Last time I talked to him, he wasn’t ready to play for the love of the game anymore.”

    Going back to the days immediately following their second-round playoff loss, Armstrong referred to Parayko as a “cornerstone player” and admitted he wanted to get him signed to a long-term contract. It was suggested that Parayko may be able to look toward Morgan Rielly (six-year, $30 million extension with Toronto) or Hampus Lindholm (six-year, $31.5 million extension with Anaheim) as possible comparables.

    The Blues currently have five defensemen under contract for next season, with about $17 million currently committed to the position. They also have about $11.6 million in projected cap space right now, per CapFriendly.

    The Blues also had some bad news on Wednesday, as forward Patrik Berglund underwent shoulder surgery and is out until December. His absence isn’t likely to be filled through free agency, based on Armstrong’s comments.

    “There are some internal options and we’ll explore those,” he said. “We’re always looking to see if we can get creative maybe.

    “We’re talking to some potential free agents, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up that there will be a lot of change to this roster.”

    The Blues did, in fact, announce the re-signing of a defenseman on Wednesday, inking Chris Butler to a two-year, two-way deal. However, right now, the priority is to get their young blue liner Parayko signed to a long-term deal.

    Lightning re-sign journeyman forward Conacher

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    Cory Conacher has turned an impressive Calder Cup Playoffs run into a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Per the club, it’s a one-way deal in the first season and a two-way deal in the second, paying $650,000 annually at the NHL level.

    Conacher, 27, had 12 goals and 16 assists in 22 playoff games as the Syracuse Crunch made it all the way to the 2017 Calder Cup Final.

    The undrafted and undersized forward was also productive during the regular season, racking up 60 points (17G, 43A) in 56 games for the Crunch and four points (1G, 3A) in 11 games for the Lightning.

    Conacher has been quite the traveler in recent years, making numerous stops in both NHL and AHL markets. He spent the 2015-16 season in Switzerland, before returning to North America to sign with the Bolts last summer.