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07-31-2006, 08:48 AM
Blind Gardien
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Originally Posted by davedave View Post
I think Markov on a long-term guaranteed contract is exactly the kind of situation that can go pear shaped. The one thing that holds him and his remarkable talent back is his (in)consistency. He still has this way of checking out for stretches at a time, whether it's being soft, making turnovers, or just playing uninspired.

I've always been high on Markov, but lately, IMO, he's been especially overrated on these boards. He's just not as good as Habs fans have been making him out to be. He's not elite. He's in a group of about 30-40 good defencemen who would be ranked 40 different ways by 40 different people.

Anyway, if Markov demands a multi-multi-year (4 or 5 or more) extension at ultra millions (5 or 6 or more), I'd look at dealing him.
Hmmm. There is a limit to what I'd be willing to pay him (or anybody). But. On the otherhand, he seems to be sort of a low-key, amicable kind of guy who maybe won't play hardball. We always say that of course. As if his agent has nothing to do with it. But if he'd take 4 or 5 years at $4M or $5M per, I think that would turn out to be a bargain for us. A Kaberle-like deal for an as-of-now-Kaberle-like defenseman.

I'm not sure where the line on "elite" should be drawn, but I am sure that Markov is already our best defenseman, and best defensemen don't grow on trees. I don't think we could replace him in our lineup for anything less than the kind of contract it would take to sign him. Whether that's "elite" or not is almost immaterial in that sense. I don't think he's a "Norris-contender" defenseman, so if there are only a handful of such players who qualify as elite (Niedermayer, Pronger, Chara, Lidstrom, who else?) then he's definitely not elite. But if Kaberle, Norstrom, Johnsson, Kubina, Rafalski, McCabe, Jovanovski, Redden, Aucoin, Foote, Blake-today, McKee, Gonchar, etc are $4-6M+ defensemen, then there is certainly plenty of room to fit Markov into that group IMO.

And while it's true that Markov does still have inconsistencies and still doesn't really impose himself on a game the way you'd want a #1 D to, I also still think he is on a very noticeably upward development curve. You look at where he has come from (drafted as a small over-age rover forward/d who was only notable purely for offense) and see how much his game has progressed up to last season... well, I have to say wow. He took a completely uni-dimensional game, and now he's able to play a smart, extremely effective defensive game too. I'm thinking there's still very much a development stage left in him where he begins to blend back his pure offensive talents too (especially in the new NHL environment that the league is pushing). He was on pace for a 56-point season last year without injuries. I really think he can improve on that pace. And if that's true... what is a 60-70 point defenseman who plays smart, effective defense too? Is that elite?

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