Andrei Markov's nickname of "The General" is both a recognition of his tenure with the Habs as well as an endearment of the vital role he has played on the team.
Markov was drafted in the sixth round, 162nd overall, in 1998 by the Canadiens, part of one of their most successful draft years ever with the likes of Francois Beauchemin, Michael Ryder, and Mike Ribeiro also selected. To put Markov's tenure into perspective, in his rookie season with the Canadiens in 2000-01, Michel Therrien was coaching his first games in the NHL, Patrice Brisebois was the highest-scoring defenceman, Saku Koivu was only in his second of nine seasons as team captain, and Brian Savage led the team in goals with 21.
Markov will play his sixteenth season in the NHL, not including the lost season of 2004-05, so purely by duration he has left his mark on this storied organization. There are not any players out there who can boast having such a long career, especially as part of a single team. Here are some of the milestones he has a chance to reach this season.
Total Seasons with the Canadiens
Markov will join Aurele Joliat, Bob Gainey, Yvan Cournoyer, and Patrice Brisebois as the other players who have played 16 seasons with the club. Only Jean Beliveau (20), Henri Richard (20), Maurice Richard (18), and Larry Robinson (17) will have spent more seasons with the club.
Markov currently sits in ninth place, all players combined, with 928 games played. Should he play 78 games this season he will move all the way to fifth place overall, passing Guy Lafleur (961), Yvan Cournoyer (968), Maurice Richard (978), and Claude Provost (1005).
If you limit the milestone for games played to defencemen only Markov already sits in second place all-time. First place, belonging to Larry Robinson (1202), is still a very long way away. Being out for the majority of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons due to injuries unfortunately really hurt his placement in this category.
Markov currently sits in eight place all players combined with 423 assists. Should he continue his pace of about 40 assists over 82 games, he could possibly move all the way up to sixth overall, passing Cournoyer (435) and Saku Koivu (450). A 47 assist season would get him up to fifth overall past Jacques Lemaire (469).
For defencemen, again, he sits in second place all time, and again, runs up against Robinson (686) who appears to have an insurmountable lead in this category
Goals By A Defenceman
Markov is third among all Canadiens defencemen for goals scored with 113, ahead of Hall-of-Famers Serge Savard (100) and Doug Harvey (76). Only Guy Lapointe (166) and Robinson (197) have more, and their ranking appears to be fairly solidified.
Points by a Defenceman in the Playoffs
Markov currently sits tied for ninth place all time for points by defenceman in the playoffs with 31, tied with Patrice Brisebois and Jacques Laperriere, and a single point will tie him with Emile Bouchard (32). Should Markov gets eight points in the playoffs he will pass P.K. Subban who had a remarkable 38 points in 55 playoff games.
It's unknown whether this upcoming season is Markov's last in the Canadiens uniform as there has been no speculation on a contract extension thus far. Any contract extension would probably require a significant drop in the $5.75M he will be paid this year, and incidentally for a tenth consecutive season.
He continued to be utilized as a 20 minute per game defenceman last season due to the injury situation, but one would hope that the 37-year old plays slightly less minutes this season and sees his workload better managed, to allow him to prolong his career by a few more seasons to continue moving up in the Canadiens record books.