Defensemen Danny Markov is testing out the free agency waters to see what the market will bear. He was signed by the Detroit Red Wings in 2006 for a one year contract, and put up 16 points (4G, 12A) and an impressive +25 rating in 66 games. Markov recently turned down a reported $2.5M offer by Detroit to stay another year and is out shopping for a bigger paycheck.
The 6’1″ 186-pound native of Russia is known for his work ethic, his skating abilities and his hard-nosed toughness. As he has gotten older, his aggressive style of play has contributed to a rash of injuries. In 2005-06, while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, he missed 24 games due to groin, knee and ankle injuries. Last season with the Red Wings, he missed a total of 16 games with ankle, shoulder and upper body injuries. Nonetheless, Markov is the type of player you love to have on your team because he plays hard and he doesn’t back down.
In Pittsburgh, many fans, including yours truly, would love to see a tough defenseman like Markov. The team could certainly benefit from Markov’s experience, productivity and tough style of play. He would be a welcome addition to the Penguins blue line and would add some grit that would benefit this talented young team. If the Penguins were to pick up Markov, they would have a surplus of defensemen and would likely look to unload or demote someone to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (perhaps #32, Alain Nasreddine).
The real question is how much is Markov worth? Rumor surrounding his rejection of the Detroit offer is that he is looking for something in the $3.5M range, which might explain why he is still a free agent. He is also reportedly evaluating offers to return to Russia and play there. The Penguins have plenty of salary cap room to pick up Markov should they really want him. NHLPens.com will continue to monitor this situation closely and will report as soon as any official developments unfold.