The New Jersey Devils have been connected to free-agent defenseman Andrei Markov. That would be a terrible idea for this team.
The New Jersey Devils are a team that is coming off a rebuild. During the rebuild, they signed a bunch of old stop gaps in free agency like Michael Ryder, Mike Cammalleri, and Jaromir Jagr. That used to be a thing they had to do in order to set the team up for the future. They needed to ice a team and those guys will be remembered fondly as they were there while the team tried to build a foundation for the future.
That is not the case anymore. That is why the connections online between the New Jersey Devils and free-agent defenseman Andrei Markov make no sense. That really wouldn’t be a smart idea for this edition of the Devils who are young, fast, and skilled. Markov has had a really good career as he has racked up 119 goals and 453 assists over 16 seasons. That is a lot for a defenseman but at 40 years old, there is little hope he’d be his old self on a young Devils squad.
Markov is a 40-year-old defenseman that hasn’t played in the NHL since 2016-17. To give some perspective, that is Taylor Hall‘s first season with New Jersey. It has been a while. Some say that’s the reason he wants to return is at 990 games played in the NHL, he is only 10 games away from the revered 1000 games played plateau. It is a milestone worth going for if you are Markov, but the New Jersey Devils make no sense for that to be the place he does it.
The Devils already have eight defensemen on their roster that deserve to play in the NHL over Markov. P.K. Subban, Damon Severson, Sami Vatanen, Andy Greene, and Will Butcher appear to be locked to be in the lineup when healthy and then Ty Smith, Mirco Mueller, and Connor Carrick will likely rotate in and out of that sixth spot. Unless there is a trade, eight defensemen is already a lot so nine would be even worse to deal with.
A guy like Ty Smith deserves a chance to show what he can do in the NHL. He barely didn’t make the team in 2018-19. Instead, he went and dominated the Western Hockey League and was the WHL Top Defenseman. A guy like Andre Markov does not need to be there to take minutes from any of the aforementioned players, especially Smith. If another team gives him a look, good for them but it should not be the Devils.