Earlier in the season, while P.K. Subban was holding out while he waited to sign his new contract as a restricted free agent, Andrei Markov was the undisputed leader of the Montreal Canadiens. Through the first 6 games that Montreal played without Subban, Markov notched 4 goals and 4 assists for 8 points, all on the power play. However, since Subban suited up for his first game, Markov has but 2 assists in 12 games, again both with the man advantage.
When signed his deal, some players in the Montreal dressing room weren’t exactly excited to have him back. Both Markov and Josh Gorges had rather negative comments about getting him back in the lineup. For his part, Subban has 8 points (6 PPP) in the 12 games since he came back.
While Markov represents the old guard in Montreal and part of the leadership group, Subban is obviously a big part of the Canadiens future. Markov is injury prone and hasn’t done much at even strength this season, and he is one of only two Montreal skaters to have a negative in the plus/minus column (-2). The veteran Russian is 34, and has many tough miles on his body. Subban is 11 years his junior, and is still reaching for his potential.
The Habs are rolling along nicely right now, so it is not an issue. However, what happens when things start to go south a little and Subban reverts to his more extroverted ways? Can the pair co-exist on the same blueline, or will Markov have to be moved for Subban to reach his full potential. It is a fine line the Habs are walking right now, and with another year at $5.75M on his contract, it would be tough to find a taker for Markov, should they want to move him.
I am not saying the Habs will be shopping him around, but from the outside looking in, Markov hasn’t been the same player since Subban re-joined the club.
Montreal comes to visit the Senators this Monday night and it will be interesting to see up close how the duo co-exist on and off the ice.