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Despite injuries, Canadiens sign Andrei Markov for 3 yearsWhen Andrei Markov(notes) is on the ice and healthy, he's one of the best offensive defensemen in hockey.

But there's no separating that from the fact he missed 112 regular-season games from 2009-11 for the Montreal Canadiens.

It hasn't scared them off, apparently. Despite previous reports that the Habs would sign Markov to a 2-year deal, Montreal announced today that the impending unrestricted free agent has agreed to a 3-year contract.

From the Habs:

"We are very pleased that Andrei has made the decision to pursue his career with the Montreal Canadiens. A player drafted and developed by our organization, Andrei brings a high level of talent and leadership to our team. We look forward to having him back in our lineup for the start of the upcoming season," said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Markov, 32, completed in 2010-11 his 10th season with the Canadiens in the NHL.

The defenseman registered three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in seven games. He served four penalty minutes and maintained a +2 plus/minus differential, while averaging 22:54 seconds of ice time per game. Markov suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee on November 13 against Carolina.

Since 2000-01, Markov has registered 366 points (81 goals, 285 assists) in 623 NHL regular-season games. The 6'0'', 209 lbs defenseman has recorded 361 penalty minutes and maintained a +31 plus/minus differential. Markov has scored 41 of his goals on the powerplay and two on the penalty kill. He has accumulated 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in 49 career NHL playoff contests.

Pat Hickey of the Gazette reports that it's a contract worth $17.25 million, with the $5.75 million cap hit represents Markov's salary in his last contract.

Again, the money is completely justifiable given what he earned last season and his production when healthy. The term is about one year more than you'd expect; but if Markov is lost for another significant amount of time to injury, it's not like the Canadiens haven't adapted in the past.

Andrei Markov's contract is the stuff that long-term injury replacement exceptions were made for.

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