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Canadiens sign Karl Alzner to 5-year, $23.2 million contract, per report

Montreal locks up one of free agency’s top defensemen.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Defenseman Karl Alzner agreed to a 5-year, $23.2 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens on the first day of NHL free agency, reports TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The deal has a $4.625 annual cap hit through the 2021-22 season.

Alzner’s signing means the Canadians will all but certainly move on from defenseman Andrei Markov, who might want a contract the Canadians can no longer afford to put on their books.

Here is a video of the 38-year-old Markov working out on a beach yesterday. No reason.

Anyway.

Alzner emerged as a top-four presence for the Capitals over the last few years, logging 117 points in 591 career games in Washington while averaging 20 minutes per game nearly each season. His possession numbers are good, though not great: Alzner boasts a career 48.8 Corsi For percentage that dipped to the lowest point since 2011 last season.

Montreal’s top-four will get a boost with Alzner in the fray, whether he slides in next to Shea Weber on the top pairing or with Jordie Benn on the second pairing.

Washington was apparently prepared to lose Alzner when they decided to re-sign T.J. Oshie to a massive contract extension recently. They also have to consider re-signing John Carlson in the coming years, meaning Alzner’s time in D.C. was up.

He said recently that he was looking for a long-term deal; the Canadiens, Blackhawks, Canucks, and Maple Leafs were all reported as interested in his services at one point. The Dallas Stars removed themselves from consideration by trading for Marc Methot.