Andrei Markov would like to return to the NHL this season, preferably with the Montreal Canadiens, he told the Montreal Gazette.
"That's my dream, you know," the 40-year-old defenseman told the newspaper of a potential return to the Canadiens. "But it's not up to me. We'll see … we'll see what's going to happen. I'll try to train hard and prepare myself. But it's not just my decision. I'm trying to prepare myself for that, but we'll see what's going to happen, you know. Most probably it's going to be my last year. I'm looking for a one-year contract and try to enjoy that and give my all."
Markov played 16 seasons for the Canadiens before returning to Russia in 2017. He had two goals and 12 assists in 49 games for Ak Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League last season.
Markov had 572 points (119 goals, 453 assists) in 990 regular-season games and 32 points (five goals, 27 assists) in 89 Stanley Cup Playoff games with Montreal.
If he returns to Montreal, he could become the sixth player to reach 1,000 games with the Canadiens, joining Henri Richard (1,258), Larry Robinson (1,202), Bob Gainey (1,160), Jean Beliveau (1,125) and Claude Provost (1,005). A sixth-round pick (No. 162) by the Canadiens in the 1998 NHL Draft, Markov said he'd be willing to listen to offers from other teams if Montreal isn't an option. He was unable to agree on a contract with the Canadiens after the 2016-17 season before deciding to play in the KHL.
"Whatever happened at that time, it happened," he said. "They have their view, I have my view, that's it. … [Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin's] got his own job, he's got his own view, and that's his job to build the team the way he sees that team. I'm not against him. I always loved the team, loved this city and I always will. But like I said, whatever happened that time … that's life, you know."