Free agency has died down after an rapid start, but a few big names remain on the open market.
Among them, Andrei Markov remains in pursuit of a new deal from the Montreal Canadiens, who drafted the 38-year-old defenseman in 1998 but have been unwilling to meet reported demands for a two-year, $6 million extension.
The latest development in the Markov sweepstakes doesn't involve the team with which the veteran blue-liner has spent his entire career. It involves the Philadelphia Flyers.
TSN 690's Tony Marinaro, based in Montreal, reported this week that Philadelphia was the "one team" discussing a contract with Markov. But things have already changed since then, with Marinaro reversing course a day later and claiming a Markov-to-the-Flyers deal "will not happen."
"He is interested in them," Marinaro tweeted, but the Flyers, apparently, are not interested in Markov.
Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall confirmed as much Thursday, saying the Flyers had not spoken to the free agent defenseman.
So where does Markov go from here? Back to Montreal, presumably.
That is, of course, only if the Canadiens either realize their long-time defenseman's reported demands or Markov decides to settle for less. Finding common ground makes the most sense.
Montreal invested plenty (and perhaps a little too much) in a new blue-liner when it inked Karl Alzner to a five-year deal early in free agency. But the Canadiens could still use a piece to pair with Shea Weber, and that piece, as uninspiring as it may be at 38 years old and with durability questions, might have to be Markov.
Swinging and missing on a new deal for Alexander Radulov ensures the Canadiens won't be too strapped for cash if they want to ante up the dough for Markov, whose familiarity alone makes him a logical fit for top-four minutes. A two-year extension wouldn't be ridiculous considering Carey Price's big-money deal doesn't take effect until then, too.
Markov, meanwhile, could very well stick it out on the market and hope that someone other than the Flyers will actually reciprocate interest. But there's only so many possible landing spots for an aging defenseman whose recent seasons have showcased a decline in numbers, not to mention one who is representing himself.
Originally the 162nd pick of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Markov had 36 points in 62 games for Montreal in 2016-17. An All-Star honoree and alternate captain for the Habs, he made his NHL debut in 2000-01 and has appeared in every one of the team's seasons since then.