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Andrei Markov re-signs with Canadiens for three seasons

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Andrei Markov is now signed through 2016-17. (Getty Images)
Andrei Markov is now signed through 2016-17. (Getty Images)

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One pressing question for the Montreal Canadiens this offseason surrounded Andrei Markov and if the Habs would re-sign the veteran defenseman. They gave their answer on Monday: yes.

The team and Markov reached an agreement on a three-year contract to keep Markov in Montreal through 2016-17, when he will turn 38. The deal is a bit pricey but Markov wouldn't be cheap given his previous deal. According to Marc Antoine Godin, Markov's new deal has the same average annual value as his prior one.

It's a bit expensive for a guy past his prime and with bad knees but Markov showed in this past season in which he was able to stay on the ice that he still has some game with seven goals and 36 assists in 81 games. Especially at the back end of the deal it has a fairly high amount of risk involved but the Habs couldn't really just let Markov go, not with all he means for the team as a leader and still a productive player.

"We are very happy to have secured a long term agreement with Andrei," Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said. "He is an important part of our group of core players. He is healthy, shows a very good work ethic and has great leadership skills. He plays big minutes against the top opponents, and game-changing defensemen of his calibre are hard to find."

Montreal is the only NHL city in which the Russian defenseman has played after being drafted in the sixth round in 1998. The scouts earned their money on that one, it would seem. You're happy to get any production out of a sixth-rounder, let alone 17 years.

He's hopeful he'll be able to give the Canadiens just a little bit more before he's done.

"I am very pleased to be a member of the Montreal Canadiens organization for the coming years," Markov said. "I love Montreal and I am very confident in our group of players. I want to contribute to the success of our team."

Now the Canadiens must turn their attention to P.K. Subban, who is due for a new contract himself -- a big new contract. By keeping those two together the Habs retain a pair of big point-producers on the blue line which is never a bad thing.

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