By Erik Caron
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The last big fish is still swimming in the pond. The Avalanche came to terms with RFA forward Ryan O’Reilly last week while the Rangers came to terms with RFA forward Chris Kreider. The Toronto Maple Leafs signed RFA defenseman Jake Gardiner to a five year 20.25 million deal. None of those names though compare to the one big name that has yet to be signed by his team, defenseman P.K Subban.
Subban is a RFA, coming off a very team friendly deal and what is considered a bridge deal that is worth 5.7 mil total and a cap hit of 2.8 mil a season. This deal was an awesome contract for Montreal but overall it was a double edged sword for the team. Montreal was lucky to get a player of that caliber for such a team friendly cap hit. During that bridge year though Subban got to prove his worth and boy did he. During the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season he had 38 points in 42 games played. Subban captured the Norris trophy that year. He followed up that campaign in the 2013/2014 season with 53 points in 82 games played. In the 2014 playoffs he didn’t slow down either with 14 points in 17 games played. Those numbers are impressive for a defenseman. Subban proved he was a dynamic defenseman and 29 other teams’ worst nightmare from the point. Now Montreal is going to have to sweeten the pot if they want to keep him.
The two sides have been unable to come to terms on a new deal. It is an interesting situation as Subban and head coach Michel Therrien have had reported tension in the past. On top of that there has been reported tension the last couple of years between the team and Subban. Rumors about how Montreal didn’t push enough for him to make the Canadian Olympic roster were circulating through the media. Subban is seeking in the neighborhood of 8-9 million a season per TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Montreal seems unwilling to give him the big deal that he is seeking. Subban has voiced his desire to stay in Montreal for life and has decided to file for arbitration to find out exactly how much he is worth.
So how much could Subban end up being awarded during arbitration?
Defenseman Shea Weber and the Predators went to arbitration in 2011 and Weber was awarded 7.5 million in that case. Subban should get at least that figure if not the 8 or 9 million that he seeks.
Is Subban worth that kind of money?
YES, absolutely he is and that’s coming from a Bruins fan. Montreal would be crazy not to give him the deal he is looking for even if it is more than the 7 year 45 million deal Blue’s defenseman Alex Pietrangelo signed in 2013. Subban is a high impact player. Aside from goaltender Carey Price, Subban is Montreal’s most important player. He took a team friendly bridge deal and as much as I don’t want to see him in a Hab’s jersey long term, Montreal needs to return the good will and give this guy a deal before he decides he wants to be moved out of town.
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