After years patrolling the blue line for the Montreal Canadiens, and several severe injuries that threatened to derail his career prematurely, Andrei Markov’s time as a professional hockey player is approaching its end. When all is said and done, where will he fit in NHL history?
Andrei Markov entered the fold in the darkest time. He was drafted 162th in the sixth round in 1998, and started playing at the turn of the new millennium.
Nowadays, not having Carey Price in the lineup often means a loss. In earlier days, there were two names: Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov. One of them scratched from the game usually resulted in a defeat. Markov basically cost Jacques Martin his job, who unfortunately stood behind the bench during the nearly two-year injury to The General’s knees.
A dominant player will elevate his teammates. Because of Markov, Mike Komisarek, Sheldon Souray, and Mark Streit got big contracts, and Raphael Diaz looked like a promising NHLer.
Let's look at his career numbers:
It's hard to know the impact of a player by comparing him with those of a different era. So I've looked at the other players that were drafted from 1995 to 2001. For people before 1999, I took only players who played more than 800 games in the NHL. After that year, I substracted 60 games from that total per year.
The result is a sample of 44 defencemen. Only 17 of them were able to produce an average of 30 points per season, 11 tallied 35 points a season, and only four kept an average of 41 points per season, or half a point per game played.
*Bryan Berard was a promising player who had a short career due to an unfortunate accident.
With 0.58 points per game, Andrei Markov finishes at the top of the class. Unfortunately, he played concurrently with Nicklas Lidstrom, so he wasn't eligible for a Norris Trophy in his prime. Lidstrom average a 0.73 pts/game over the course of his career, and he dominated his position like no one else at the time.
But Markov didn't play surrounded by talent like the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings possessed during that time. Lidstrom played with future Hall of Famers. Markov can't boast about that.
Of course, if we looked into Habs history, he is far from the legendary Larry Robinson or Guy Lapointe. Even so, Markov needs just 37 points to become second-best scoring defenceman in the century-plus history of the franchise.
How history will remember him? How will you remember Andrei Markov?