Andrei Markov

PHT Morning Skate: 2020 free agency unclear; Markov’s legacy

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The last few days haven’t been easy for Colby Cave‘s wife, Emily. (Toronto Star)

• The union and the NHL haven’t discussed specific sites for neutral site playoff games. (ESPN)

• NHL players are differing their decision on the last paycheque of the season until May 15th. (TSN)

• Unrestricted free agency in 2020 is still very unclear. (CBC)

• The “Can-Ice” company has been really busy over the last few weeks. (Toronto Sun)

• Islanders fans have come together to help feed first responders. (The Sports Daily)

Dustin Byfuglien has always appeared to be an enigma. (The Hockey News)

• Andrei Markov helped many of his defense partners make a lot of money. (Sportsnet)

• Have Braden Holtby‘s chances of returning to Washington increased because of the pause? (Nova Caps Fans)

• The Ducks don’t have many difficult decisions to make in free agency this year. (Anaheim Calling)

• Which of the UFA goalies deserves a long-term extension? (Sportsnet)

• How does Martin Brodeur stack up against some of the other great goalies? (Pucks and Pitchforks)

• The New York Post takes a look inside the NHL’s complicated restart vision. (New York Post)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov retires from hockey

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He last played in the NHL in the 2016-17 season, but 41-year-old defenseman Andrei Markov has retired from the sport of hockey, according to his agent.

“Hockey is over for him now,” agent Sergey Isakov told La Presse (translated via NHL.com). “He wants to spend time with his family.”

Markov was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL draft. After 16 seasons with the Original Six franchise, he continued his career for the the past three years in the KHL and played for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv this past season.

Markov retired with 119 goals, 453 assists in 990 NHL games and participated in 89 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He also played in two NHL All-Star games.

“It was his dream to finish his career in Montreal,” Isakov said. “He really wanted to, but there’s nothing he can do about it. The general manager [Marc Bergevin] only wanted to offer a one-year contract (in 2017), while Andrei was looking for a two-year deal. After that, Andrei and I discussed the possibility of a return to Montreal, but it didn’t materialize. It’s too bad, because he really wanted to play 1,000 games for the Canadiens.”

 


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Smith-Pelly joins KHL’s Kunlun Red Star on one-year deal

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After failing to catch on with the Flames in training camp, Devante Smith-Pelly has signed on with Kunlun Red Star of the KHL on a one-year deal.

The 27-year-old forward split time between the Capitals and their AHL affiliate last season. After being waived and sent down in February, he joined the Hershey Bears and scored six times and registered 14 points in 20 games. In 54 games with the Capitals, Smith-Pelly recorded eight points and was pointless in three playoff games. 

It wasn’t the easiest of seasons for Smith-Pelly in 2018-19 coming off a Stanley Cup Final where he scored three times against the Golden Knights. He couldn’t find a regular spot in Todd Reirden’s lineup and the Capitals declined to re-sign him in the summer. The Flames brought him into training camp last month on a tryout deal but released him after he went pointless in four games.

Kunlun Red Star is based in Beijing, China and coached by former NHL player and head coach Curt Fraser. 

Smith-Pelly isn’t the only player on the roster with NHL ties. You might recall names like Gilbert Brule, Adam Cracknell, Wojtek Wolski, Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Yip, and Andrej Sustr. There are also two sons of former stars in the league with David Bondra Jake Chelios featuring.

In other KHL news, four days after signing a tryout deal, former Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has signed a one-year deal with Lokomotiv.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Andrei Markov heads back to KHL on tryout deal

Veteran defender Andrei Markov has been hoping to make a return to the NHL after spending the past two seasons playing in the KHL, but it appears as if those plans will remain on hold.

The KHL announced on Thursday that Markov has signed a professional tryout contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Markov played for Kazan Ak-Bars the past two seasons, tallying seven goals and 47 points in 104 regular season games.

Markov, now 40, spent his entire 16-year career with the Montreal Canadiens and was hoping to make a return to the team this season but the feeling never seemed to be mutual.

“Two years ago, his contract was due, we made an offer,” Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin told Canada’s RDS back in September. “Efforts were made to sign it and he chose another direction that was KHL. It was two years ago. Since that time, things have changed. The player has aged. The organization has changed direction. We have a lot of young people growing up.”

Markov’s agent said back in August that five teams had checked in on Markov’s availability and that he was seeking a one-year deal.

He is 10 games shy of playing his 1,000th game in the NHL, something that would be a nice milestone for what has been an extremely productive career. When he was at his best and not limited by injury (he had terrible injury luck for a three-year run between 2009 and 2012) Markov was an outstanding player and big point producer from the Canadiens’ blue line. Even in his last NHL season he had 36 points and a 54 percent Corsi rating in 66 games as a 38-year-old. Not exactly a small accomplishment.

Unfortunately for Markov there did not seem to be much of a market this year (at least not yet) for a 40-year-old defender.

The only players in the NHL over the age of 38 this season are Zdeno Chara (42), Patrick Marleau (40), Joe Thornton (40), and Ron Hainsey (38). Chara and Hainsey are the only defenders.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canadiens GM not interested in bringing back Andrei Markov

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After spending the past two seasons playing in the KHL, veteran defender Andrei Markov is looking to make a return to the NHL this season.

Markov, 40, is 10 games away from his 1,000th in the NHL and it has been reported that his first preference would be to again play for the Montreal Canadiens, the only team he ever played for in the NHL.

The feeling is apparently not mutual.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told Canada’s RDS on Saturday that a lot of things have changed since they offered Markov a contract two years ago.

Via the Montreal Gazette:

“Two years ago, his contract was due, we made an offer. Efforts were made to sign it and he chose another direction that was KHL. It was two years ago.

“Since that time, things have changed. The player has aged. The organization has changed direction. We have a lot of young people growing up. I will name them. The (Noah) Juulsen, the (Victor) Mete, the (Josh) Brook … (Alexander) Romanov, who will be here in a year. Then, we really want to give our young people a chance.”

Markov did not have agent at the time of those negotiations, but has since hired Allan Walsh to represent him in his return attempt. Walsh said back in August that at least five teams have checked in and that Markov is willing to play anywhere on what would likely be a one-year deal.

Markov last played for the Canadiens during the 2016-17 season, recording 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) in 62 games. At his peak he was an outstanding player on the Canadiens’ blue line, but had a good chunk of his career wiped out by injury between 2009 and 2012. He was able to bounce back from that by appearing in all but two games between the 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons. In 990 games he has scored 119 goals to go with 453 assists (572 total points).

The Canadiens’ defense definitely has some flaws in the short-term, but it’s hard to build a convincing argument that a 40-year-old defender two years removed from the NHL would make a significant impact. So Bergevin’s position is certainly understandable.

Overall it has been a quiet offseason for the Canadiens as they are returning mostly the same roster that fell short of the playoffs a year ago. They did make an effort to sign Sebastian Aho as a restricted free agent away from the Montreal Canadiens, but the offer was easily matched.

MORE:
• ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule
Which teams should take chance on Andrei Markov?

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.