Andrei Markov was a solidifying force on the Montreal Canadiens blue line which led to him signing a three-year contract before even hitting free-agency.
STATS: 81 Games | 7 G-36 A = 43 P | 34 PIM | +12 | 49.4% Corsi | 9.2 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 17 games | 1 G-9 A = 10 P | 10 PIM | -4 | 45.8% Corsi
STORY: Andrei Markov’s best game of the season was without a doubt his game against the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored both goals in a 2-1 win and proved what he could be at his best.
Markov is not a top defenceman like he once was. Age has done a number on him. He is slower, but not often out of position completely and should benefit from having a right-handed shot on his side full time.
In the playoffs, Markov and Alexei Emelin were often on the ice when the opposition had some scoring chances, but that wasn’t on Markov as much as it was on his partner. Markov was a calming force on the power play as well and really leads the power play while P.K. Subban can set up for a shot.
Markov had a pretty good year as he is adjusting to his new role. He is a top-four defenceman who can play the power play and will need to be sheltered. He only had seven goals in the regular season, but that is a testament to his role on the Montreal power play, setting up Subban.
However, even when Markov had Sheldon Souray, he was able to score more often by pinching in on the weak side. It seems that element is gone from the Canadiens power play and maybe an offseason can look at what can improve.
FUTURE: Markov will likely have a new defence partner next season. With the moves the Canadiens made in free agency, they are now looking at having complete right and left handed defence men on every pair. That means Markov likely will play with either Mike Weaver or Tom Gilbert.
I don’t think that Markov will play full-time with Subban as it would entail too many hard minutes, however, it’s impossible to say how Montreal’s lineup will look.
I didn’t like the third year given to Markov in his contract but if Markov can be more sheltered with a different partner, he may be in line for a bounce back season in his all-around game.