Canadiens sign defenceman Andrei Markov to US$17.25-million three-year deal

MONTREAL – Andrei Markov started his career with the Montreal Canadiens, and it looks like he may end it with them too.

The Canadians announced Thursday that the veteran defenceman has signed a US$17.25-million, three-year deal with the club that will see Markov in a Montreal uniform through the 2013-14 season.

His yearly salary of $5.75 million is unchanged from his last contract.

“We are very pleased that Andrei has made the decision to pursue his career with the Montreal Canadiens,” general manager Pierre Gauthier said in a statement. “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.”

Markov, 32, has played 10 seasons with the Canadiens, though his career has been hampered by injuries to his right knee. He missed the first 10 games of last season due to his injured knee, then he played just seven games before a second knee injury that required season-ending surgery.

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When he’s healthy, Markov is a huge offensive presence on the Montreal blue-line. The Canadiens will be hoping Markov returns to the form he showed in the 2008-09 season, when he had 12 goals and 52 assists for a career-high 64 points.

The six-foot, 209-pound defenceman has registered 366 points (81 goals, 285 assists) in 623 NHL regular-season games. He also has 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 49 career playoff games.

The six-foot, 209-pound defenceman has recorded 361 penalty minutes and maintained a +31 plus/minus differential.

A native of Voskresensk, Russia, Markov was the Canadiens’ sixth pick (third round, 162nd overall) at the 1998 NHL draft.

He was part of the Russian Olympic teams in 2006 and 2010.