The worries about the health of Andrei Markov’s knee in Montreal might be a bit stronger than you’d think. The Canadiens have signed free agent defenseman Chris Campoli to a one year deal. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the deal is worth $1.75 million to help solidify the depth of the Habs.
Markov has been dealing with lingering issues with his surgically repaired knee during training camp and rather than head into the regular season having to rely upon prospects from the AHL for depth, the Habs have called upon Campoli to fit the bill. Markov’s knee issues have plagued his previous two seasons and heading into a new one with concerns again over how he’ll hold up clearly weren’t entertaining to GM Pierre Gauthier.
Campoli spent last season in Ottawa and Chicago and the conclusion to his season with the Blackhawks was an infamous one getting turned inside-out by Vancouver’s Alex Burrows leading to the series-winning goal in Game 7 of their first round battle. Overall last season, Campoli finished with four goals and 17 assists with both the Sens and Hawks.
Campoli is capable of being an offensive contributor along the blue line and is know better for being a good puck mover than for his defensive capabilities. Looking at the rest of the Canadiens’ blue line corps, without Markov the Habs needed a bit of help. With P.K. Subban, Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, Josh Gorges, and Yannick Weber to hold things down. With the Habs’ farm team lacking in NHL-ready prospects outside of Weber, Campoli will provide the NHL-ready insurance they’ll need if Markov’s knee continues to be an issue.
Montreal opting to sign Campoli over fellow free agent defenseman Bryan McCabe is a bit of a curious move only because if Montreal’s worries over Markov’s health were long-term ones, McCabe would be a helpful player to have on the power play and certainly a better fit there than Campoli. Campoli, right now, we’d have to assume is being brought in as a competitor for the sixth defense spot with Weber or strictly as a fill-in seventh defenseman.