The National Hockey League draft is about building for the future, but the 24 hours leading up to the first selection were all about teams living in the present.

The Canadiens did their bit in grabbing headlines away from the draft as they announced that Andrei Markov has signed a three-year contract.

Markov will be making $5.75 million a season, which is what he was making in his last contract. The argument could be made that, in the same spirit displayed by former captain Saku Koivu, he took a discount because (a) he wants to stay in Montreal and (b) he realizes that the Canadiens didn't get much value from him during the past two seasons when injuries limited his participation to 52 games.

The Canadiens did their part in getting the deal done by agreeing to a three-year term. It's a gamble because of Markov's recent history, but a show of faith in Markov's ability to bounce back and the handiwork of Dr. James Andrews, who performed the second reconstructive surgery on his right knee on Dec. 8.

Markov's first operation was on May 5, 2010, and he returned to the lineup less than six months later on Oct. 30. At the time, the focus was on his recuperative powers, but when he reinjured two weeks later, there was talk that he had rushed his return.

Markov said Friday that he was pleased with his rehabilitation program and he expects to be "100 per cent" when training camp opens on Sept. 15. That will be nine months since the surgery, but you can be assured that the Canadiens will delay his return if there are any questions about Markov's history.