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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Montreal Canadiens Offseason Player Profile: Andrei Markov

Andrei Markov - D
6'0" 207 lbs
2011-12 Stats 13GP- 0G- 3A- 13Pts- -4

The Cost

Andrei Markov is heading into year two of a three year contract worth $5.75 million.

When signed, many felt it was a crazy deal seeing as how his knee had caused him to miss all but seven games in 2010-11 . In 2009-10, he played a scant 37 games only to be re-injured in the playoffs, limiting him to eight games during their unexpected playoff run which saw them reach the conference finals, where they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in five games.

However, in the 45 games Markov appeared in that season, he earned 34 points with a +11 rating. Markov even had four points in his limited playoff presence.

It's no secret that if Markov can stay healhy he will be worth every penny.

Performance

With Markov limited to just 13 games, it's tough to gauge his performance. The team was 4-3-6 with him in the lineup but was also without goaltender Carey Price for nine of those contests.

Even if you put aside the fact that the team was playing without it's starting goaltender — and that the team was capping off a season from hell — it's hard to fully rate his performance.

After missing such a significant amount of time on the ice it takes time, even for someone with Markov's talent, to get back into the swing of things. Markov did average 18:00 minutes of ice time upon his return but is more used to around 24:00 minutes per game.

The Fit

If healthy, Markov will have an impact at both ends of the ice. As the top powerplay unit's quarterback, his unique vision, accurate passing and trademark backdoor slot rush will no doubt improve the team's effectiveness with the extra man.

Markov will have quite a few possibilities of partners along the blueline when the season opens in October against the Senators.

The veteran blueliner has had plenty of success in the past with Josh Gorges and will more than likely be teamed with him again. However it's fun to picture him patrolling the back end with fellow Russian, Alexei Emelin.

With Markov's experience and hockey I.Q., Emelin would be free to step out of posistion on occassion to crush an opposing player knowing that he's got one of the league's best watching his back.

Subban would be another possibility, although their offensive similarities will more than likely keep them from being partnered up. The two should see some time together on the PP though with Markov setting P.K. up for some ridiculously wound up one-timers.

What are your thoughts on Markov? Who would you like to see him paired with, and will he live up to his price tag?

---
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com You can follow Sean on Twitter.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images North America)

8 comments:

Good stuff, as always, Sean.

To answer your question, I think Emelin is a natural fit with Markov. Remember how good of a pairing Komisarek and Markov were? I think the same dynamic is at work with the equally physical Emelin. And, to boot, both are Russian, which is an added bonus.

Agree with Louis. I'd like to see him on a second pairing with Emelin, as he shakes the rust off and shows Emelin the Russian way. At least for the first while.

Sean,

off top of head, Markov is perfect fit with defensive Yemelin; but i remember cursing Martin for pairing a plodding Hamrlik with a boat anchor named Spacek simpy (it seemed) becasue they were Czechs.

But, even on 2nd thought and ignoring that they are both Russian, it would seem a nce fit of oe offensive puck-mover with a defensive minded back-up. And with Yemelin's -18 rating, he really could use the best puck-mover at his side (as Komisarik did).
And Subban matched with Gorges is a similar nice-fitting young duo.
And Boulion can back-up for Kaberle's "softness" in the defensive one and Kaberle's also is a great and smart puck-mover, so would have 3 fairly balanced pairs.


don

I agree with all above. Markov is best suited on the 2nd pairing with Emelin.
Considering what he has been through, his age and the fact than Emelin is still adapting to the NHL game.
They are better suited to play against team's 2nd and 3rd lines,not their top line.
With Subban, Markov & Kaberle for a full year, our offense should see a marked improvement as they are all very good puck movers.

As usual, Devil's advocate on this one.

I personally do not want to see Markov with Emelin.

I think that barring any changes Gorges, Subban, Markov and Emelin are our top 4 d-men however Emelin did struggle in his defensive coverage and was (by memory) alot less physical when he was playing on the right side.

The issue this team has is that we have 5 on our top 6 players who shoot left. Gorges proved he was more than comfortable there so if it was up to me I would be pairing Markov and Gorges together as a unit and then pair Subban and Emelin.

This pay Emelin gets to play a position that he is alot more comfortable and we still have a units set up with one offensive and one defensive d-man.

Brian,

some argue that face off% isnt that important, when i say the Habs as a group suck and all are <50% and it costs games.
And which hand a d-man i think is very minor and any d-man worth anything can adapt easily enough. So in a perfect world having 3 sets of RH and LH guys would be a bit of a bonus, but not important and pros and cons even out.

don

@ Anon

I think it's easy for a lefty to play on the right side. I mean I shoot left and am much more comfrotable on the right side of the ice. But i've played there my whole life.

Some guys excel on the right side but because of familiarity. To adjust after spending X amount of years on the left is not easy. Spacek said he struggled, Hamrlik refused, Emelin was out of place.

I personally see pairing a guy sturggling on the right with a guy coming back from seriious injury is extremely risky.

I agree with Bryan Willey, Emelin is a lot better on the left, for both seeing the game and his hits. But I would add that on the PP Emelin has a good shot and Markov is better as a set-up man to a lefty playing on the right on PP. I would try Kaberly for the 2nd PP unit on the right to feed Subban on the left, but hey! that's really not up to me.

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