Monday: Ak Bars Kazan has announced a two-year deal with Markov.
Thursday: Breaking his own news, Andrei Markov announced on a conference call with reporters that he will play in the KHL in 2017-18. He was willing to sign a one-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens but couldn’t come to an agreement, and had other offers from around the NHL before deciding to head back to Russia. In his own words:
I didn’t see myself with any other NHL team. I didn’t see myself wearing another jersey.
NHL.com correspondent Sergey Demidov reports that it will be Ak Bars Kazan that signs Markov, though he wouldn’t confirm it on the call. It’s likely that he’ll retire having only played for a single NHL team, something that’s hard to find in professional sports these days. He did say he could return to Montreal in a year, though that would be a surprising turn after the team clearly wasn’t ready to meet his asking price this summer. The 38-year old will be able to play in the Olympics next year, which would be his fourth such tournament for Russia.
Markov was clearly upset that he was leaving Montreal, but did say that it was a positive move for his family. Just recently Markov got married and has several children, who can now all move back to Russia together. Earlier this year he brought his young twin boys over from Russia after their mother passed away.
It’s a likely end to what was an outstanding NHL career, with 990 regular season games and 572 points. He obviously could have helped a large group of teams around the league still, but never wanted to play for a different team. Montreal had been the team that gave him his first shot in North America, and it was going to be where he finished his career.