PK Subban is going to get paid. That much we know. It may not be the smoothest negotiation for the 25-year-old restricted free agent — it sure wasn’t last time — but it’s hard to imagine the Montreal Canadiens and their star defenseman not getting a long-term deal hammered out eventually. If they don’t, well, you’ll hear all about it on PHT. That’s a promise.
Andrei Markov is a different story. The 35-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent, coming off a three-year, $17.25 million contract. He had a big role with the Habs this season, leading the club in average ice time (25:14), with 43 points to boot.
But how much is he worth to the Canadiens going forward? Is it as much as he could get on the open market? How badly does he want to remain in Montreal? How many years does he want? Would two years for $10 million get it done? Three years for $12 million?
We’ll find out soon enough. But if they don’t get something done, all those minutes he logged will have to be split up somehow.
The Canadiens do have a few young defensemen waiting in the wings, like Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu, and Greg Pateryn. Plus, Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin are each signed through 2017-18. And Montreal could always add another d-man in free agency or in a trade.
Still, losing Markov would present a challenge, not to mention mark the end of an era. The Russian native has never played for another NHL team, suiting up for 765 games in a Habs uniform, plus 71 more in the playoffs.