You Be the Canadiens' GM, Question No. 3: Re-Sign or Trade Andrei Markov?

Kamal PanesarCorrespondent IJune 21, 2010

MONTREAL- APRIL 26:  Andrei Markov #79 of the Montreal Canadiens skates with the puck in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 26, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Canadiens defeated the Capitals 4-1 tying the series 3-3.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

In question three of my five-part survey on what fans would do they were the Habs' GM, I asked readers what they would do with Andrei Markov. Sign him? Trade him? Wait till the trade deadline?

Here's a sampling of what fans had to say:

Question#3: Re-sign or trade Andrei Markov?
1. Re-sign Markov. He's a top five D-man year in and year out, and he's a huge impact on the rest of the D corp. Also crucial to PP and PK special teams.

2. Trade him and get another stellar defensemen like Lubomir Vishnovsky.

3. I couldn't bear the thought of trading a top five-seven defenseman when the only offensive help from the blueline besides Markov is coming from a 21-year-old rookie.

Markov's injuries are not recurrent, just pure bad luck (See Price's skate, Cooke's hit). We finally have a great top pair on D for the coming years in Markov/Subban. Let them be. I would only trade Markov for a stud young center ala Staal, Carter, Kopitar, and that ain't happening!

3. I think we should trade him...maybe even package him with Halak to get a big top six forward. It's a lot to give up, but the return has the potential to change this franchise, plus Markov has been getting hurt at very inopportune times over the last few years (not that injuries are his fault).

4. IF you want to trade Markov (I don't, but say he seems unwilling to extend during the season), trade deadline is best in this case because he's injured at the moment. Spacek is no Markov, but he'd be better on his natural side and the Habs could have a D by committee approach while seeking a replacement.

5. Re-sign Markov: This guy has been with the Habs since he got in this league. I think it would be a shame to let him go next year. I love what he brings to the table both on and off the ice.

6. Don't trade Markov: He is a leader. He may have one or two good years, and that can make a difference for younger players (Subban, O'Byrne, Webber).

Consensus: Mixed-bag. Some say trade him, some say keep him. If there is a consensus it is that people feel sick about the thought of losing Markov.

One of the top offensive-defenseman in the league year after year, Andrei Markov will be entering the final year of his contract this summer.

Logic would dictate that the Habs simply cannot afford to lose Markov and should re-sign him as soon as possible.

GM Pierre Gauthier has even publicly said that he wants to start talking contract with Markov this summer, as opposed to next.

But is the Markov re-signing a total no-brainer or is there more to the story?

Markov has unfortunately seen a rash of injuries over the last two or three seasons, which have caused him to miss all or significant portions of the playoffs last and this year.

In addition, his freak skate-cut accident in the first game of this past season caused him to be out until the New Year. Then, after coming back from the injury, Markov tore his ACL during the second round versus Pittsburgh, which sent him home for knee surgery until next season.

At this point, Markov is projected to be back in the lineup in November 2010, meaning that the Habs might once again be missing Markov at the beginning of the season.

All this adds up to the Habs having to at least consider the possibility of trading Markov this season rather than signing him or letting him become a UFA.

Can you imagine Markov on a team like Washington, for example? He'd have just as many points as Mike Green, if not more, and would have a better plus/minus rating.

The potential return for trading Markov to a contending team could be massive, and something that could help the Habs out for years to come.

You also can't discount the fact that the Habs made due without Markov for most of the season and playoffs.

So while he is their rock on the backend, they might be showing that they can play without him.

But who am I kidding?

If the Habs traded Markov, how would they find a replacement for him? You cannot easily acquire a No. 1 defensemen either through the draft or by trade.

The temptation, however, is the potential return. That being said, Markov is only 30 and likely has at least four more good years in him.

I'd sign him for five more years and let him retire as a Canadien. If there is an incredible offer that comes in for him at the trade deadline, you look at it then, in context. But until then, I would hold onto him, as he should be one of the key cogs of this team if they are going to become a contender.

What's more important, in my opinion, is finding a true No. 2 defensemen to play along side him!

So, what do you think? Trade him? Keep him?

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