Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov is a fan favorite and it looks like he’ll be staying in Quebec.
According to Richard Labbe of La Presse (link in French), Markov’s agent, former NHL forward Sergei Berezin, says his client is close to re-signing with the Habs. Translation courtesy Chantal Ledoux:
“We know what Habs management wants, and they know what Andrei wants,” Berezin said. “There are no surprises and I am optimistic in this case, the main reason being that I feel the team wishes to keep Andrei, and Andrei wants to remain with this team. That’s what’s important to understand. The rest are just details we need to work out.”
Markov has played 13 seasons in Montreal and made his debut with the team in the 2000-01 season. In that time he’s scored 98 goals and piled up 442 points and helped take the Canadiens to the playoffs seven times. He’s as much of a fixture in Montreal as any player that’s played there since Saku Koivu.
After putting three seasons of injuries behind him he’s been a key contributor the past two seasons with 73 points and has missed just one game. If Markov parted ways with the team at this point in his career it’d be stunning. Expect him to continue patrolling the Montreal blue line alongside Alexei Emelin for at least another season.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.