Toss-Up – Zherdev or Markov


The Canucks’ trade rumour mill is starting to turn again.

I suspect that this is mostly because Canucks fans are so damn bored that they want to hear about ANYTHING, so rumours start flying fast.

The two names that I have heard as possible targets for the Canucks are Nikolai Zherdev (ex NYR) and Andrei Markov (MTL).

So who would you rather see in a Canucks uniform in October?

Here’s what I think.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of acquiring each player.

First, let’s take a look at Zherdev. He’s now a UFA after the Rangers walked away from his $3.9m arbitration ruling.  So the good thing for the Canucks signing Zherdev is that is would not cost them any players, prospects or draft picks. He’s free to sign. It will only cost you his approximate $3.9m ruling.

And there is the con. Four mil is a LOT to pony up for a 60 point player. I say that given that the Canucks have two 60 point guys (Burrows and Kesler) that they are currently paying $2m each.

But this is the open market. So I guess getting a legit top 6, 60-point player at less than $4m is okay. Not great. But okay. Remember, the Canucks paid Demitra $4m last year for 53 points. Basically the same output as Zherdev and for the same money, but most folks in Vancouver think that Demitra underperformed.  The difference between Zherdev and Demitra is that Zherdev is only 25 and still has room to improve.

For me the bottom line is this: If the Canucks can move Demitra for a draft pick or two and clear his salary, then I would pick up Zherdev.

Ok now on to Markov.

Here are the pros: First, he’s the puck-moving defenceman that the Canucks need. Next, his offence has been improving for the last five seasons, and he’s only 30. So for a defenceman, he has a solid 6-8 years of solid production ahead of him. Next, the Canadiens need to relieve themselves of some cap space, and have a decent defence corps without Markov. So they could spare him.

The BIG con is that Markov costs $5.75m for the next two seasons. That’s big numbers. So the Canucks would have to ship some salary back to the Habs in order to afford him and still have some play money. And the Habs are reportedly asking for Burrows+more in return. Would the Canucks part with Burrows right now? He’s such a bargain that I have a hard time believing that Gillis would send him out.Also, the Canucks would probably have to send a defenceman to Montreal as well. Maybe they send an existing roster player like Salo or Bieksa. Maybe they send Burrows and a defensive prospect (Oberg? Ellington?).

Given that the Canucks would have to give up something noticeable to acquire Markov, you have to wonder if the risk of trading for Markov is worth it. Knowing that the Habs don’t want to take back too much salary, the Canuclks wouldn’t have to give up too much from their current roster.

If I was to pick between signing Zherdev now, or trading for Markov (assuming a reasonable swap is established) now, I would have to go for Markov.

Right now, the Canucks have a passable top 6 forward group. Plus they have up-and-coming prospects who are poised to make the leap to the big show. Vancouver has Hodgson, Grabner and now Shirokov who are all touted as legit top 6 forward prospects.

But they desperately need a puck moving defenceman. And they do have cap room to sign Markov, assuming they send SOME salary back to Montreal in the deal.

So let’s shoot for Markov and hope that the Canucks can shore up that defence group.