Although the “Olympic trade freeze” is now in effect in the NHL until the 23rd February 2014, many trade rumors will still go on as this time is excellent for general managers to continue negotiations. We look at what the Montreal Canadiens will do with defenseman Andrei Markov, and if Martin Brodeur will consider to be traded.
What to do with Andrei Markov
The Montreal Canadiens will have to solve a dilemma that may cost them one of their best defenseman long time veteran defenseman Andrei Markov. Markov who’s heading out to Sochi for the Russian team has been playing major minutes for head coach Michel Therrien all year even playing more than star defenseman, P.K. Subban. Like Subban, Markov plays on average 25 minutes a game at the age of 36.
Markov is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July and is on the last year of a three-year contract worth 5.75 million a year. Marc Bergevin has started negotiations with the defenseman who initially was representing himself on the 22nd January, 2014. Since then, Markov has had some contract talks with management and has recently hired former Montreal Canadiens player Sergei Berezin. Berezin is based out of Florida and is also a native of Voskresensk, Russia. It is known that Berezin since hired by Markov has been holding discussions with Bergevin and the Canadiens management staff.
As of now, Markov wants a deal in the six million dollar range for three or four years. The Canadiens’ initial offer was six million for one year. So there is a significant gap to bridge between the two parties. Right now with the Canadiens sitting third in the Atlantic Division with a playoff spot in hand, dealing Markov may not proved to be a wise move. Bergevin may be faced to trade him regardless if a deal can’t reached during the Olympics or after leading to the trade deadline.
Montreal needs Markov and they may be faced in losing him for nothing at the end of the season unless they can resign him after the season is over for the Habs. And Bergevin has another priority to deal with, the P.K. Subban contract which will undoubtedly range in the 8 million range per season. It is clear that young prospect Nathan Beaulieu is not ready to step in Markov’s shoes. Beaulieu has already taken former defenseman Rafael Diaz who was traded to the Vancouver Canucks last week.
Needless to say, trading Markov may prove difficult for Marc Bergevin based on where his team will sit. He will need to ask himself if he can go far into the playoffs with Markov on his roster or make the sacrifice now for the future to acquire a piece he will need to make him an elite team down the road for the long term. Bergevin is adamant on building his team through the draft coupled with sound development of his prospects.
Teams are interested in Markov – no doubt. The Los Angeles Kings, the Detroit Red Wings, the decimated Vancouver Canucks would love to have the no.79 in their respective teams. Fact remains Bergevin will have to make a decision that will impact his team for years to come.
Is Martin Brodeur on his last miles with New Jersey?
It appears more evident each day that veteran New Jersey and future Hall-of-Famer goaltender Martin Brodeur will end up ending his playing career if he wishes to be the No.1 goalie of his team. That will be his decision and his decision only. He has an agreement in place with his general manager Lou lamoriello to request a trade only if he wishes to leave the Devils. Otherwise Lamoriello will not trade him just for the sake of trading him.
This Olympic pause will be a perfect time for him to reflect on his future. Does he request a trade to another team or does he stay in New Jersey and maybe share the work with Cory Schneider, or does he simply retire at the end of this season? For Brodeur, it is a fact, after a lengthy career of 20 years between the pipes another goalie has now stepped in and is the go-to goalie in New Jersey. No other NHL goalie has had a longer streak as the no.1 goalie with the same team. When Brodeur was in the net leading to the game at Yankee Stadium, he had gone 5-2-2 in his previous nine starts with a 2.21 goals-against and .916 save percentage. With the Devils lack of scoring, the Devils kept it up in every games and even won.
So who might be interested in a no.1 goalie who is 41 years old with a status like Brodeur? Three teams come to mind. There is the Minnesota Wild which could be an option, this year. Losing Josh Harding and relying on rookie Darcy Kumper may not be enough to secure a playoff spot for them. Also the Nashville Predators may be an option, they are on the outside looking in and a goalie like Brodeur would definitely bring stability in their goals against. If Pekka Rinne doesn’t return soon, Brodeur could be a solution. The Washington Capitals may also be an option for Lamoriello, but trading in the Eastern Conference with the two teams looking for a post-season spot will likely not happen.
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