Andrei Markov’s year is over.  Knee surgery is set for next Wednesday in Alabama.  The announcement came today with 128 days left in the season. Markov’s salary is $30,914 per day, meaning the Canadiens  can replace the approximately 3.8 million remaining contract long term injury relief dollars to apply to their salary cap  should they want to. 

Let the rumours and speculation begin.

The Canadiens are in first place in the Northeast division and near the top of the Eastern Conference, so outside of finding a leftwinger for Scott Gomez, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency.  Certainly not on  defence.  And the Gomez situation might be relieved by a promotion of Max Pacioretty who is currently burning up the American Hockey League.   

Still, it will be interesting to watch the trade market as long term injuries return over the next few weeks to cap-strapped franchises like Vancouver, Calgary, Boston and New Jersey to name a few.  For instance, the Bruins reportedly have Marco Sturm and the final year of his 3.5 million dollar contract on the trade block after the return of Marc Savard to their lineup this week.

16-Marco Sturm

I’m sure the Montreal rumour mill will pick up on Sturm, who can play left wing.  There are pro’s and con’s.  He’s got the kind of speed that would fit nicely into the Canadiens structure.  Jacques Martin would love his defensive commitment.  On the other hand, it’s about all of those injuries.  He’s dealt with knee injuries on both legs and has had surgeries to repair the damage in both. He suffered his latest injury in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring when he tore the MCL and ACL in his right knee.  He’s been skating for more than a month but still is a few weeks from returning to a lineup.  Add to that, the natural reluctance of the Bruins to trade an asset to not only a conference but a divisional rival.   Sturm was a key part of the Joe Thornton trade a few years ago.  In the 302 games with Boston he’s scored 106 goals and 87 assists.  It will make nice fodder for the talk shows, but this is a deal that is unlikely to happen.

Hey!  There’s always Bill Guerin.  Or….if you really want to start something, how about Jarome Iginla?