Andrei Markov

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Markov, Habs officially part ways

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Andrei Markov‘s run of 17 consecutive seasons in Montreal is over.

On Thursday, the Habs announced that Markov — who’s played all 990 of his career NHL contests with the Canadiens — wouldn’t be brought back for the 2017-18 campaign.

The news comes after months of rumblings about Markov’s contractual status. It was initially believed the 38-year-old UFA was looking for $12 million over two years, and there was a brief flirtation with the Flyers (which, it later turned out, was simply Markov’s interest in going to Philly, not the Flyers actively pursuing him).

Montreal GM Marc Bergevin stated on several occasions he wanted to bring Markov back, but only at the right price and term. That’s because Bergevin knew Markov still played an important role — despite appearing in just 62 games last year, the Russian rearguard was offensively productive, with six goals and 36 points, and averaged nearly 22 minutes per night.

That said, Bergevin also knew the financial realities. He dished out big bucks this offseason — a combined $154.8 million for Carey Price, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk and Karl Alzner — and just didn’t have the money left to give Markov a big ticket.

Instead, Bergevin played it conservative in rounding out his defense, which included Tuesday’s one-year, $700,000 deal for Mark Streit. Some saw that deal as the writing on the wall for Markov in Montreal.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see where Markov ends up. If he lowers his asking price, there’s no doubt an NHL team would be interested. If he doesn’t, he could angle for a KHL deal and the opportunity to represent Russia in the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Habs sign Mark Streit — is he Markov’s replacement?

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The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.

This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.

Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.

What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.

Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.

Report: Canadiens have made an offer to Mark Streit

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The number of free agents that have gone on to sign with their former teams has been remarkable (see Scott Hartnell, Justin Williams, Dominic Moore, Mike Cammalleri, Chad Johnson, and so on), but it sounds like there could be at least one more reunion on the horizon.

According to the Journal de Montreal’s Marc De Foy, the Montreal Canadiens have made a one-year, $1.5 million offer to Mark Streit.

Streit began his career in Montreal after being selected in the ninth round of the 2004 draft. He played for the Habs from 2005 to 2008, and he had his best NHL season in 2007-08 (he put up a career-high 62 points in 81 games).

De Foy also reports that GM Marc Bergevin tried to acquire Streit before the trade deadline, but he was unable to do so because of the salary cap. Instead, the 39-year-old was traded from Philadelphia to Tampa Bay before being dealt to Pittsburgh.

Streit was part of the Penguins team that won the Stanley Cup in the spring, but he only suited up in three games during their run to the final.

He finished last season with six goals and 27 points in 68 contests. He averaged 18:44 of ice time in 2016-17 (19:23 with Philadelphia, 17:06 with Pittsburgh).

Montreal’s interest in him would likely diminish if they found a way to get a contract finalized with free agent Andrei Markov.

Markov is reportedly seeking a two-year contract worth $6 million per year, while Montreal is only offering one year at a lower salary.

Who’s still left? Here are 10 notable UFAs

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The oldest: Jaromir Jagr, 45, won’t be returning to the Florida Panthers. But he still wants to play. The future Hall of Famer had 16 goals and 30 assists in 82 games last season.

The most points last season: Thomas Vanek, 33, was reportedly talking with “several teams” on July 1, but no deal yet. Vanek split 2016-17 between Detroit and Florida. The fact he only scored two goals in 20 games for the Panthers may have hurt his value, but he did have 48 points in 68 games overall.

The most goals: Mike Fisher, 37, is apparently considering retirement. But if he decides to keep playing, it’s hard to imagine he signs with anyone but Nashville. Fisher had 18 goals in 72 games last season, then helped the Predators to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

The most points by a defenseman: Andrei Markov had 36 points (6G, 30A) for Montreal. The Habs would like to bring the 38-year-old back, but GM Marc Bergevin says his final offer has been made. The message to Markov? Take it or leave it.

The most right-shot defenseman: We’ll give this to Cody Franson, the 29-year-old who’s spent the last two years in Buffalo. Franson is no savior, but he’s not too old, and he was pretty productive on the power play during his days with the Maple Leafs.

The most Rocket Richard Trophies: Jarome Iginla, 40, is still unsigned. The two-time leading goalscorer in the NHL scored just 14 times last season for Colorado. He wants to keep playing, but it remains to be seen if he’ll get an offer he likes.

The most to prove: That would be Shane Doan, 40, after being cut loose by the Arizona Coyotes. Doan had just six goals in 74 games, but apparently some teams are interested.

The most fast (a.k.a. the fastest): Viktor Stalberg can still fly at 31 years old, and he’s got plenty of postseason experience to boot. The Ottawa Senators would like to keep him, and he’d like to stay. But the two sides have yet to reach a deal, so he may have to look elsewhere.

The most under-30: Among regular NHLers last season, 24-year-old defenseman Nikita Nesterov is the youngest UFA. He became an unrestricted free agent after the Canadiens chose not to extend a qualifying offer.

The most points by an under-30 UFA: That honor belongs to 26-year-old forward Alex Chiasson, who was cut loose by the Calgary Flames after registering 12 goals and 12 assists in 81 games.

Report: Flyers are only team ‘talking contract’ with Andrei Markov (Updated)

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Many people expected Andrei Markov to re-sign with the Montreal Canadiens before free agency opened on July 1st.

The Canadiens are the only team Markov has played for during his 16 years in the NHL. But not only has Markov not signed with the Habs, he reportedly isn’t even talking to them about a new contract.

According to TSN 690 Montreal radio host Tony Marinaro, the only team negotiating with Markov right now is the Philadelphia Flyers.

Markov has decided to represent himself during negotiations (no agent), and his contract demands appear to be too high for Habs GM Marc Bergevin. Multiple reports have indicated that Markov is searching for a two-year deal worth $6 million per season, which is $250,000 more than he was making on his last contract.

With Carey Price‘s huge extension kicking-in in two years, Montreal has be to wise about the way they allocate funds to veterans.

Markov, 38, has lost a step over the last couple of seasons, but he continues to be an effective defenseman that is capable of playing top 4 minutes on a consistent basis.

He had 36 points and a plus-18 rating in 62 games (he averaged 21:50 of ice time) during the regular season before adding one assist and a minus-1 rating (he averaged 26:09) in the playoffs.

Update:

So much for that: