Bad news today for the Montreal Canadiens as they announced that the team’s top defenseman, Andrei Markov, will miss the remainder of the regular season after getting knee surgery. Markov will have the meniscus repaired in his knee and have his ACL reconstructed. Feel free to wince after reading that.
Markov played in just seven games this season and had a goal and two assists in those games. He was knocked out for good on November 13th against Carolina when he got tangled up with Eric Staal. For the Habs, they’ve made due without Markov for most of the season, but missing him the rest of the way is going to hurt.
The team has been running well with P.K. Subban this season, but even he’s had his ups and downs. Keeping the rest of their defensive unit healthy will be key for Montreal if they hope to make the playoffs and advance deeper than they did last year to make a run at the Stanley Cup. The Habs already traded away some depth this year sending Ryan O’Byrne to Colorado. Players like Subban, Alexandre Picard and Yannick Weber will be bigger factors in strengthening their depth on defense.
What will be missed most is Markov’s steady ability on defense and his ability to handle a power play with great efficiency. Without him in the lineup, the Habs don’t have a true #1 guy on the blue line to handle those duties. Jaroslav Spacek and Subban (when he’s in the lineup) will mix and match throughout the year in trying to handle those chores. If there’s an upside out of all this it’s that the Canadiens have gotten accustomed to not having Markov out there with them. That turn of events helps soften the blow a bit but make no mistake, the Habs are worse off without him on the ice.