Let’s take a look at the yearly dollar value of other defensemen around the league:
- Bryan McCabe $ 5.75 million ( g-15 a-42 57pt +3)
- Zdeno Chara $7.3 million (g- 11 a-32 43pt -21)
- Rob Blake $6 million (g-14 a-20 34pt -26)
- Pavel Kubina $5 million (g-7 a-14 21pt +7)
- Jay McKee $4 million (05-06 season: g-5 a-11 16pt 0)
- Ed Jovanovski $6.5 million (54games: g-11 a-18 29pt -6)
When Markov’s agent, Don Meehan and Bob Gainey sat at the negotiation table with the above information, you can see why Mr. Gainey had little choice with regards to the salary figure. We can all argue that the Canadiens should not “pay the price” for other teams (insert: “Toronto Maple Leafs” here) bad negotiating but if the market is willing to pay a certain salary to players then teams have no choice.
Andrei Markov is a steady all round defenseman who averages 24:13 minutes of ice time per game and is the best break out/power play passing defenseman on the team. I would argue that he is also one of the best one on one defensemen in the NHL against any forward (just ask Aexander Ovechkin who stated such). Markov is the type of player who quietly makes his teammates better and is content to be in Montreal which is always an added bonus these days. If Andrei Markov had not been signed prior to July 1st, you can be sure that another team would have happily given him the same contract or more which would’ve left a huge hole to fill on defense.
Bob Gainey did what had to be done to maintain the current roster and now can focus his attention on trying to sign Sheldon Souray or other UFAs on July 1st. The Canadiens have some salary cap wiggle room but have to spend it smartly otherwise the on ice product won’t be vastly improved from last year.