After ditching the National Hockey League for a pair of seasons in the KHL, former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov wants to make a return to the NHL.
“I know I’m 40, but it doesn’t feel like I’m 40,” Markov told Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette. “I worked hard over the summer and I’ve done some stuff I never did before. I put in lots of work this summer and I’m looking forward… We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
The blueliner also noted that he would prefer to come back and play for the Canadiens on a one-year deal, but would ultimately sign anywhere that wanted his services.
Very few hockey players are able to make an impact into their forties, and given recent results, it doesn’t seem like the 16-year Hab could return and be the same player he once was.
During his NHL tenure, Markov tallied three seasons of 50 points or more. In the KHL, however, the Russian rearguard followed up a 33-point, 55-game campaign in 2017-18 with a 14-point effort last season while playing in 49 matches. Although he did log a little more than 21 minutes per game these past two years, even he admitted that playing in the NHL comes with a greater level of difficulty.
“You can feel the difference between like, NHL and KHL,” Markov said to Cowan. “You have to realize that [the KHL is] not there yet.”
The former sixth-round selection has had a productive NHL career, but it doesn’t seem likely that he will have the same effect on the game as he once did.
Whether or not that will get in the way of him earning a final season of professional hockey in North America is yet to be seen.
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