July 1, 2016 is an important date for the Montreal Canadiens for two different reasons.
For one, it marks the first day of unrestricted free agency, where the Canadiens can improve their team by signing players outside of the organization. The Canadiens hope to be active that day to fill many of their needs that we’re exposed this past season.
Secondly, and most importantly, it signifies the day where the Canadiens aren’t contractually allowed to create another massive hole on the roster. July 1, 2016 is the day where P.K. Subban’s full no-trade clause kicks in which keeps him in town until the end of the 2021-2022 season.
Now the question is, will Marc Bergevin pull the trigger before July?
Throughout the past year there’s been talk around the National Hockey League about a possible Subban trade. Personally, I think this is ridiculous. There is no possible situation where the Canadiens trading away P.K. Subban benefits their team now. Correct me if I’m wrong but trading away a Norris Trophy winning, Olympic Gold Medalist and number one defenseman will in no way put the Montreal Canadiens or any team for that matter ahead of where they now stand.
Imagine the Los Angeles Kings trading Drew Doughty, or the Ottawa Senators trading Erik Karlsson. No neither can I, so why is it so easy to suggest the Montreal Canadiens should trade P.K. Subban? Why do the short falls of a flawed organization fall on the shoulders of their best player not named Carey Price? Sure Subban plays his game on the edge and has a loud personality. You don’t have to like it but that doesn’t make him expendable.
If Bergevin is even having this conversation (he shouldn’t be) he must look at the impact of P.K. Subban on not just the Canadiens, but on the city of Montreal. What are the positives, and do they outweigh the negatives?
Positives of Having P.K. Subban
P.K. Subban is first before anything else the Montreal Canadiens number one defenseman. There’s a reason he signed an 8 year $72,000,000 contract and there’s a reason the Canadiens offered him that contract. He’s a Norris Trophy winner and an Olympic Goal Medalist who averages nearly 27 minutes a game. Not many defenseman in the National Hockey League can say that. As much as Michel Therrien and Marc Bergevin may want to deny it, Subban is the reason the Montreal Canadiens run. Shouldn’t the Canadiens be satisfied with their investment? They have one of the best defencemen in the league under contract until 2022, what else could you ask for?
Everything else that Subban brings to the table is gravy. He’s a leader in the dressing room which was voted on by his peers when he was given an “A” on his chest. He’s drawn comparisons to the Great Jean Beliveau by none other than his wife, Elise, whose favourite player is Subban.
Finally, above all of his on ice accomplishments, P.K. Subban is a good human being. I say this because Subban donated $10,000,000 to Montreal Children’s Hospital. How many athletes can say they’ve done that? People are complaining about a suit Subban is wearing before a game or that he often takes pictures with other famous figures and he’s selflessly donating his yearly salary (which at most is $10,000,000) to help children in a city he loves.
I can’t find an athlete that gives a city so much both on and off the ice as P.K. Subban does with Montreal. To be able to list everything I just did with a player the age of 26 is remarkable, along with his most recent nomination for the 2016 NHL Foundation Player of the Year award. It’s about time P.K. Subban received the respect he deserves.
Negatives of Having P.K. Subban
This shouldn’t take too long.
The only thing I can think of that is close to a negative for Subban being on the roster is that no other player can occupy the number 76 until at least 2022. There are hardly, if any negatives when you have a Norris Trophy winning defenceman in your top two pairing.
If the Montreal Canadiens want to be competitive now and in the near future, P.K. Subban will be on the roster. If however they want to tear the heart and soul out of the Canadiens and the city of Montreal then go ahead and trade him and acquire all so precious draft picks.
My prediction, they start the 2016-2017 season, and every season until 2022 with P.K. Subban as their number one defenseman.
P.K. Subban is a polarizing figure, not only in Montreal but in professional sports. It’s about time we embrace athletes like him who have fun, give back and play hard every game for the crest on the front of their jerseys.
Nick Guido is a Montreal Canadiens Contributor for The Hockey Writers. You can Follow him on Twitter @nickguidoTHW for his articles, opinions and general Habs talk.