The Montreal Canadiens tried to hedge their bets against P.K. Subban when they gave him a two-year bridge deal worth $5.75 million. Total. Not a year. Across two seasons. Can you imagine how big of a pay-day this kid is in for now? And the Canadiens will have no one to blame but themselves when he asks for north of $7 million.
That’s because they tried to play hard ball already. They forced Subban to holdout for the $5.75 million deal and didn’t think he was worth that kind of cash following one breakout season. Well, one Norris Trophy and a hot start this season later and it’s time for the Habs to buck up and pay Subaan his money.
No low balling. No and, ifs or buts. He’s not injury prone and he busts his tale on and off the ice.
On a nightly basis, Subban has been the best player for the Canadiens or the last two-plus seasons. Few defensemen can do what he can from the blue line, and if Montreal doesn’t want to make him one of the top-five highest pay defenders in the league then it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see someone else step in and name terms for them.
(See Nashville Predators/Shea Weber/Philadelphia Flyers for all the evidence that you need.)
That’s the risk that you run with these bridge deals. While it’s totally understandable to not want to pay a young player a ton of money across a long-term contract, sometimes they actually are as good as they showed during their breakout year. The Columbus Blue Jackets dealt with a similar situation over the summer with Vezina Trophy-winning Sergei Bobrovsky.
They had the option to extend him for the next four or five years, or to hand him a “prove it” deal. They went with the latter, and could end up paying more for using that strategy in the long run. The Canadiens certainly will end up on the hook for more money now than they would have if they just would have paid Subban his due after the 2011-12 season.
According to theFourthPeriod.com, the Habs will likely open negotiations soon. It would be disturbing to see the talks hit a wall because Montreal low-balled again. Pay this kid his cash and carry on with the year. You know what he’s worth and what the going rate is, so why drag your feet?