Andrei Markov is now the highest-paid Canadien in franchise history. Andrei will now be making $23 million over the next 4 years, in case you were visiting your Amish friends and missed the announcement yesterday. I think this is a good deal for the Habs. Markov's price would have skyrocketed on the open market. Better to get him locked up now rather than risk getting in a bidding war for him after July 1.
Gainey did not really seem to get into the specifics of the deal...it might be $5.75 million per year, but I would imagine that it is more likely to be back-weighted the last year or two years. Doing such would allow us to sign Souray to a 2-year deal. I also found it curious as to how Gainey made it blatantly clear that Markov was his first priority, even over Souray. I wonder how Souray's camp feels about such statements? I wish Gainey would have chosen his words a little more carefully.
I recall reading a quote from Souray a couple of weeks ago where he said that he would be willing to give the Habs a discount, so long as they made a fair offer. I also believe he said something about how $6 million a season would be too much. It will be interesting to see if we can land Shelly.
As it stands now, our defensemen next year are:
My issue with our defense is how undersized they are. Komisarek and Bouillon are the only two physical guys. Frankie is not the most intimidating player, either. If we can't re-sign Shelly, we will need to find a big, physical defenseman.
Ryan O'Byrne also seems to be waiting in the wings. He has had a very steady year in the AHL this year. He is big and physical, although he is not known for his shot. Maybe the Habs will promote him as the 6th/7th defenseman? I think the odds are that he will not be promoted next year.