Markov signed

05.28.07

The Habs signed top defenseman Andrei Markov to a 4-year contract today, cementing his long-term future with the club.

Markov was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he’d made it plain that he wants to stay in Montreal. This deal should make Markov, the club, and the fans very happy.

However, it does raise big questions about Sheldon Souray’s future with the Habs. With the Markov deal reported to be worth about $5 million a season, it’s highly unlikely that there will be room in the Habs’ payroll for Souray, despite his being a key player on the team and having expressed a desire to stay. Souray becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, and it’s now more likely than ever that he’ll chase a big offer elsewhere.

Overall, I’d have to say the Habs made the right move, even if it means losing Souray. While Souray tallied up the points on the powerplay, he isn’t as strong an all-around player or a defenseman as Markov. But there’s no doubt that finding a way to keep both players would be the ideal situation. I just doubt that it’s in the cards.

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