Habs keep Markov with four-year, $23M deal

MONTREAL -- Veteran defenseman Andrei Markov is staying in
Montreal after signing a $23-million, four-year deal with the
Canadiens on Monday.

Andrei Markov


Montreal Canadiens


Markov was fourth in team scoring this season, second among the
club's defensemen with six goals and 43 assists in 77 games. The
29-year-old was due to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

"Andrei Markov is one of our best players, and a huge part of
our hockey team," Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey said in a
statement. "We drafted and developed a player who has become an
elite defenseman in the NHL. His desire to remain a member of the
Canadiens' organization was evident, and today we are very pleased
to have a long-term agreement with Andrei."

In 411 games with Montreal, the Russian has 46 goals and 161

Markov was drafted by the Canadiens 162nd overall in 2000. He
has also played for Russia at four world championships, two world
junior championships and the 2006 Winter Olympics.