Friday, January 25, 2013

Will Marc Bergevin Trade PK Subban?

Two games into the 2013 NHL season, the stalemate between the P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadienscarries on. The negotiation between the parties has been a deadlock from the start for new general manager Marc Bergevin as Subban is looking for a long-term deal with big dollars, whereas the Bleu Blanc Rouge wants a short term pact with smaller dollars.  As a result, the controversial defenseman is still in Toronto away from the team and awaiting to finally sign his second NHL contract with the team that drafted him 43rd overall in the  2007 NHL Entry Draft.
PK Subban
PK Subban is still without a contract (Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE)
With the improved play of Raphael Diaz and a healthy Andrei Markov, the team is in no hurry to re-sign the 23-year-old defenseman to a long-term deal that the organization might regret later. Consequently, rumours are swirling in social media circles that the Habs would be better off trading Subban to a team in dire need of a young and talented defenseman in exchange for the big forward the team has been lacking for years.
Will Marc Bergevin have the guts to trade P.K. Subban or will he be patient and sign Subban under his own terms?
Circumstances have changed since last summer, as both parties don’t want to budge on their initial position, and should the Canadiens lose a few games in a row, the pressure of the Montreal media and fans might force him to make a move sooner rather than later. As we all know, Subban is a unique talent, and is part of a very select group of NHL defencemen when you take into account his dynamic offensive skills, his excellent puck-handling and skating abilities.
Subban told the Montreal media that he wants to sign a fair deal and that he is not looking for a humongous deal similar to Drew Doughty’s eight-year deal worth $56 million that he signed prior to last season. The question still remains, how much money is Subban really worth?
Comparable defensemen who recently signed long-term deals:
Cam Fowler, 21, Anaheim Ducks: 2011-12 stats: 5 goals and 24 assists for 29 points in 82 games -> five-year contract with an average value of $4 million
Tyler Myers, 22, Buffalo Sabres: 2011-12 stats: 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 55 games -> seven-year contract with an average value of $5.5 million
Erik Johnson, 24, Colorado Avalanche: 2011-12 stats: 4 goals and 22 assists for 26 points in 73 games -> four-year contract with an average value of $3.75 million
Erik Karlsson, 22, Ottawa Senators: 2011-12 stats: 19 goals and 59 assists for 78 points in 81 games -> seven-year contract with an average value of $6.5 million
Victor Hedman, 22, Tampa Bay Lightning: 2011-12 stats: 5 goals and 18 assists for 23 points in 61 games -> five-year contract with an average value of $4 million
John Carlson, 22, Washington Capitals: 2011-12 stats: 9 goals and 23 assists for 32 points in 82 games -> six-year contract with an average value of $3.96 million

The problem with trading Subban is that you have to make sure you receive enough talent to justify not giving him a long-term pact, such as a young power forward like Bobby Ryan or a good young offensive defenseman like Jamie McBain. Bergevin will have to deal with the media and fans’ scrutiny in the upcoming weeks as he ponders what to do with his prized defenseman. This will definitely be the biggest decision of his short tenure as the team’s general manager, a decision that will be much more difficult than buying out the contract of under-performing center Scott Gomez.
The other problem Bergevin is facing is that another GM might decide to send a lucrative offer sheet to Subban, an offer that Subban would likely accept. As a result, Bergevin would be faced with an even tougher decision and decide to match the offer sheet or simply let Subban go and accept the draft picks as a compensation.
Bergevin also has to consider his cap landscape a few years down the road, when he will have to renegotiate with impending restricted free agents Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu, and Louis Leblanc, among others.
Getting rid of Gomez’s contract off the salary cap and the fact that the team currently carries seven healthy defensemen on a one-way deal (Kaberle, Markov, Diaz, Bouillon, Emelin, Gorges and Weber) mean the organization can be patient and wait for Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, to make the first move and accept a shorter term or a less expensive contract.
Personally, I believe the Canadiens must re-sign Subban long term despite his off-ice antics and his propensity to turn the puck over, as this kind of generational talent does not come often. Pundits will say Subban’s peculiar personality and egocentric persona don’t fit with the current roster and the vision of this centennial organisation, but let’s be honest, who will compensate Subban’s absence on the blue line? Nathan Beaulieu is still a project, Andrei Markov is one bad movement away from a career-ending injury and Raphael Diaz only has one season under his belt.
Several NHL teams are looking for help on defense, most notably the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Islanders, the San Jose Sharks, the Ottawa Senators, the Edmonton Oilers, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Dallas Stars and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The return for Subban would most likely be a power forward, a young and talented defenseman and a draft pick.
Hockey fans, what is your team’s best offer for the “Subbanator”?



Nice article, you make a good case for keeping Subban regardless of the potential return in a trade.
I would tend to agree with you, we should sign him, maybe meet him 1/2 way on what he reportedly wants and give him 4 years 18M.
I know we need a cap friendly deal but his skill set does not come around very often.
Personally I would go for 6 years 30M. Who knows where the cap will be but the odds are good it will be much higher than 64.3M. I think we would be very happy in the final 2-3 years at a 5M cap hit.
He has already shown so much in his first 2 seasons and he plays such big minutes for us in all situations. I think with proper coaching and just experience and natural maturity he will be a star and possibly a Norris Trophy winner at some point. I would hate to see it happen in another uniform.

I agree with you Fred.

If you were to average all the above numbers a 6 year $30 M contract would not be out of line.

@Hyperhype and @Anynymous thanks for the comments. I would go with a five-year contract worth $25 million, something similar to the new deal signed by Benn with Dallas.

Trade him, Coach Martin says "he can be very bothersome to his teammates" a nice way of saying they dislike him. He should take his act to a southern team that the building is half full on a good night, and let him do his thing there, and when he fights teamates in practice and argues with the coach nobody cares... In his interveiw he says every shift i want to "kill" somebody come on, maybe he should be in the NFL I am surprised a team like the canadiens are wasting this much time on him. Is and always has been a huge liability on the blue line and a ego maniac.The real P.k has reared is ugly head... move him MB

If the Habs could get a power forward a pick and a defenceman as you say, I would do it. As much as I like him, his comments have me questioning if he really gets the team first concept or, if he is sincere when he says the Habs are in his blood. Someone in his camp is not seeing things clearly.

When you menyion Karlsson's numbers you should have mentioned he also won the Norris and then took a deal that allows the Sens to build a team. His cap hit does not say it all.

Clearly Bergevin wants a home town discount and Subban is not willing to capitulate.

While hockey is an exciting sport, hockey players are dull, dull, dull personalities. Give me a Jeremy Roenick, Paul Bissonnette or a PK Subban to add some fun to the off-ice side of the game. Do not need NFL gangsta types, but do need less seriousness off the ice.

He has worked out hard and is now 220 lbs. Finding mobile big and strong d men is not that easy. We have the oppurtunity to have a very big and mobile defence as a whole who can handle the rough going as well as skill in a few years with the Tinordi's and Beaulieau's being added. Sure he likes the lime light but he is also putting in the effort to be better.

If we sign him anybody think we can trade Kaberle for a decent draft pick?

When you look at the names and contracts listed there, Subban has been just as good, if not better all-around than all of them except for Karlsson. Taking an average of those salaries, its impossible to say he's not worth at 4-4.5 per season. Locking him up to those numbers is different than locking up Komisarek to those numbers. And if he falls out of favor in a couple of years, its an easily tradable contract for that asset. Markov and Kaberle will be off the books within 2 seasons due to age/contract status. If PK and MB can meet in the middle with his contract demands, there is no reason why they can't and shouldn't work something out.

The CANADIENS made P.K.Subban. Not P. K. made the CANADIENS. If it`s just about the money let him go and get someone who wants to be a CANADIEN. It`s not just a job it`s a privelage. GO! HABS GO!

Wow somebody else gets it ; thank you

Hey Anon 6:27 what have you been smoking!

It is a job and it is the players that make the Canadiens. A players career can be very short if he is injured. Bones break in Montreal just as easily as they do in Boston. So my advice to PK would be get as much as you can while you can get it because it can be over quickly. Ask Eric Lindros about a career cut short by injury.

If the rumour is correct that PK will get $5.75M over 2 years I have lost respect for Les Glorieux. He is worth much more in today's market. With that kind of treatment he will not be a Canadien for long and the Canadiens will suffer for it.

Nice article, you make a good case for keeping Subban regardless of the potential return in a trade.


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