Gionta, Markov focus for Habs before trade deadline day | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaGionta, Markov focus for Habs before trade deadline day

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 | 11:26 AM

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Montreal captain Brian Gionta can become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, making him a candidate to be traded. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Montreal captain Brian Gionta can become an unrestricted free agent at season's end, making him a candidate to be traded. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The Montreal Canadiens have some difficult decisions to make with respect to captain Brian Gionta and veteran defenceman Andrei Markov before the trade deadline on Wednesday. The pair of 35-year-old players are eligible to become unrestricted free agents in the summer.

With the 2014 NHL trade deadline set for Wednesday, March 5 at 3 p.m. ET, cbcsports.ca is taking a look at each Canadian team prior to the final day of wheeling and dealing. We've already covered the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. Today the Montreal Canadiens move into the hot seat, followed by the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

The situation: The Canadians have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, but they haven't won a series since they advanced to East final in 2010 ... Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin needs to add offence up front and some defensive depth, but in 2013,  his first year at the helm of the Habs, he didn't make any major moves at the trade deadline. After Bergevin re-acquired Michael Ryder and picked up Jeff Halpern off waivers earlier in the season, the only deadline move the Canadiens made was to trade for defenceman Davis Drewiske for a fifth-round draft choice ... Most of the trade talk in Montreal has centred around what to do with looming unrestricted free agents Brian Gionta and Andrei Markov. There was a report earlier this week that Bergevin has offered Markov a one-year contract extension, but that the 35-year-old defenceman seeks a three-year deal ... Since the Olympic break, the Habs have plucked three of four points in two games without their gold-medal-winning goalie Carey Price, who returned home with a lower-body injury. 

Playoff hopes: 3rd in the East, six points behind second-place Boston and eight points clear of ninth-place Washington.

Schedule: 21 games remaining (nine home, 12 road)

At home: Toronto, Boston, Ottawa, Colorado, Columbus, Buffalo, Detroit, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers.

On the road: Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Buffalo, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, Florida, Tampa Bay, Ottawa, Chicago.

Restricted free agents: Lars Eller, P.K. Subban, Dale Weise, Ryan White.

Unrestricted free agents: Francis Bouillon, Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Douglas Murray, George Parros.

No-trade clauses: Daniel Briere (no movement), Josh Gorges (limited), Brian Gionta (no-trade), Rene Bourque (modified), Andrei Markov (modified), Travis Moen (modified), Tomas Plekanec (modified). 

Cap space: $6.9 million US.

On the farm: The Habs have made good use of the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs, shuttling back-and-forth players like Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi, Louis Leblanc, Mike Blunden and Patrick Holland. Right wing Sven Andrighetto, 20, may be the next to get a shot. The Swiss forward is coming off his most productive month, with three goals and nine points in 10 games in February.

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