The Sportsnet Hockey Central crew discussed Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban on Tuesday, mentioning that his agent Don Meehan had compared the restricted free agent to “good young players” who opted for long-term contracts:
And here we see the disconnect between the Canadiens and Subban.
From Lyle Richardson of Spector’s Hockey, a recap of the divide:
One internet rumor suggested the Canadiens trade Subban to the Dallas Stars for forward Jamie Benn, who is also an unsigned restricted free agent. Not gonna happen. Besides, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently said he’s not trading Subban.
The Habs want to retain Subban (their best defenseman), and he obviously wants to remain a Hab. It appears the problem is wrangling out the term. The Canadiens are rumored to have offered up a three-year deal worth $4 million per season, while Subban wants a five-year deal for the same money. Eventually, this will get done, though both sides would’ve preferred this sooner rather than later.
What'll it take to get Subban signed?
We’ve heard Subban was asking for five years but with a higher annual salary than Spector's reporting: Closer to $6 million per season, and closer to the “comparables” highlighted above.
The Habs would no doubt argue that Subban is more in line for a John Carlson-like deal; not in term, which is six years, but in yearly salary, which is $4 million for five of the six years.
The sides aren’t close, even as opening day lingers this weekend. Subban’s a special player, and beyond that the kind of “face of the franchise” type that rarely comes along. If the NHL wasn’t still an old boys club when it comes to offer sheets – and if offer sheet creativity wasn’t gutted in the new CBA with the contractual rules – someone would have taken a run at signing him.
But as Spector wrote: Subban wants to play in Montreal. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out how he’ll be compensated for doing so.