When P.K. Subban signed his bridge contract most figured he’d stroll into an open vault for his next one. Over the past few months his value seems to have declined. Since the Habs won’t be discussing his next offer until end of playoffs, this post season will either make him a very rich hockey player or an expendable one.
Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette goes into more detail.
If you’re about to offer the gross national product of Burkina Faso to a defenceman, you want to be sure. You make the offer only if the D-man in question is your stud, the player you plan to ride to Stanley Cup glory and beyond. He is always part of your top defensive pairing. He plays in the vicinity of 30 minutes a night. He kills penalties. He is out there in every key situation.
No question Subban can do all those things. But other than the power play, he is no longer out there in key situations. If you look at the role he’s playing of late, you’re thinking James Wisniewski or Mark Streit.
But Subban has top-flight talent and he’s going to be looking for elite money, the kind the top young blueliners in the league command. Alex Pietrangelo is signed for seven years at $45.5 million, Kris Letang for eight years at $58 million, Drew Doughty for eight years and $56 million and Erik Karlsson for seven years and $45.5 million. (In our view, no sane GM would swap Subban for the one-dimensional Karlsson, but that’s another story.)
The Habs have already made it clear they won’t be talking contract with Subban until after the playoffs, so a powerful playoff run by team and player could alter the picture considerably.
Whatever happens for the balance of the season, this will be the most momentous contractual decision the club has ever made and is likely to remain so at least until Carey Price’s six-year, $39-million deal expires after the 2017-18 season.
So how much do they offer Subban and for how many years? First, as my mentor Pat Hickey said a week ago, the Canadiens have to try to sign Markov to a three-year deal. He is, after all, their No. 1 defenceman. Then they have to take a serious run at Thomas Vanek.
Up to the Olympic break, you would have said open the vault, give P.K. what it takes and move on. But unless you’re too busy cursing Therrien to actually watch the games, it’s hard to quibble with the way he’s using Subban.
Because the gaffes just keep on coming.