August 3, 2014

Thomas Drance


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It was a surprisingly busy Saturday of hockey news, particularly considering that it was the August long weekend. 


Obviously we’ll start with P.K. Subban’s $72-million, eight-year settlement with the Montreal Canadiens – a landmark long-term deal that will (artificially) result in Subban having the third highest salary cap-hit in the league next season (Patick Kane and Jonathan Toews’ extensions don’t kick in until 2015-16). 


First of all, it’s not often that a player of Subban’s stature and quality goes to arbitration. The two cases in recent history that I can think of are Roberto Luongo with the Florida Panthers, and Shea Weber with the Nashville Predators. In the former case Luongo was dealt (for cents on the dollar, after years of speculation… Wait that sounds familiar), and in the latter case Weber was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers to a toxic offer-sheet that stretched the Predators’ books. 


One can make the argument that this particular negotiation shouldn’t have seen the inside of a salary arbitration hearing, and that argument would be compelling. Nonetheless, Marc Bergevin and the Canadiens deserve credit for pulling this back from the ledge and locking a cornerstone piece down for eight-years. Considering the history, that type of reversal is nearly unprecedented.




On the other hand, how much credit do you give a guy if he stops shooting himself on the foot, though?


Looking at this outcome, which is better for Montreal than the alternative, it’s still really clear that the club should’ve locked up Subban to a Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Erik Karlsson-type contract two-years ago. When you consider where Montreal is at – especially in terms of the age of their core pieces – this is a club whose best years are in front of them.