Take Your Hand off the Panic Button: Subban (and Eller) Agree to Contract Extensions

Listen Marc, maybe some of us jumped the gun a little bit here. It was a hard pressed situation, and it’s difficult to watch your star defenseman go through such a grueling and frustrating process. (Or as PK seemed to like to reiterate, an “educational process”) Although we understand the process, it just didn’t make the situation any less tolerable. Hockey is a business and if you can’t understand that, you’re better off taking your time elsewhere. Negotiations can be difficult. A player want’s one thing and a General Manager wants another, and it’s often difficult to find middle ground. Sometimes though, it’s essential that common ground is found, like in PK Subban’s situation. Two egos collided in these negotiations and Habs fans should be overjoyed that cooler heads prevailed and Subban is locked up for 8 more years in the bleu, blanc, et rouge. Bergevin really didn’t have much leverage when it came to these talks, which made it all the more confusing when PK ended up in an arbitration hearing. Bergevin asked Subban to prove himself with a bridge contract, and Subban won a Norris trophy and led his team to two postseasons and a conference final.

Photo: Bernard Brault/La Presse

Photo: Bernard Brault/La Presse

It’s been an important couple of weeks for Bergevin and the Habs, with their two Restricted Free Agents, Subban and Eller both needing new contracts. It took some time (and might I add some frustration), but both Subban and Eller are now locked up as big parts of Montreal’s young core.

Lars, after a subpar regular season, had a great post season and looks to have finally made that jump to the player that was drafted in the first round back in 2007. There have always been some concerns as to whether or not Eller could put it all together, but these playoffs have shown that he clearly has another gear and is capable of being that top 6 player the Habs expect him to eventually be. Lars signed a 4 year/14 million dollar extension this off season as an RFA and his AAV will be 3.5 million per.

Subban on the other hand, has reached an exceptional level and is only still grasping what his potential can be. PK has already established himself as a top 10 defenseman in the NHL, and it shows as he just signed an 8 year/72 million dollar deal with the Canadiens. This deal makes him the highest paid defenseman in the NHL surpassing Shea Weber’s deal, and the 3rd highest paid player in the league, behind only Malkin and Ovechkin.

When you take all of the facts and statistics into consideration, what choice did Bergevin really have other than to make Subban the NHL’s highest paid defenseman? The facts were all there and PK was sitting on pocket aces while Bergevin had a three-seven off suit. Subban’s deal is going to be the new norm for elite defenseman, as the new Rogers TV deal is causing an increase in the cap in the coming years which will affect and raise the average annual values players are making.

What needs to be stated is this; players of Subban’s calibre don’t come along very often. They’re known as generational talents for a reason. When a player of his calibre steps on to the ice, you know that at any given point in the game, he can alter the result and make a direct impact on the outcome.

The reality is, Bergevin’s an old school General Manager and he values intangibles. What PK offers his club is not only that, but also the elite skill set of a game changer. Montreal needs to worry less about character, and more about players that can directly impact a game because of their skill. It’s becoming more evident that Bergevin is realizing this and cutting ties with the dead weight *cough Douglas Murray and George Parros cough*. What people need to grasp is that size is useless if you don’t have the skill set to put the puck in the net. The objective of hockey is to score more goals than the opposition, not see who has more TKO’s. Can physical play have an effect on a game? Of course, and it definitely has its place when forming a roster, but it needs to be remembered that skill and depth win championships, and look no further than the Los Angeles Kings or Chicago Blackhawks to prove that theory.

In conclusion Marc, I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but more players like PK Subban and Lars Eller would be appreciated, and fewer players that don’t have the ability to skate or effect the outcome of a game. Thanks for reading everyone.

(Lastly, a big thank you and round of applause to Trevor Timmins for drafting PK Subban)



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