The Subban Comp


A little over a week ago, we learned from Jim Matheson that Justin Schultz’s camp was looking to the P.K. Subban bridge deal as a possible comparable in conversations with the Oilers, but that an average annual value starting with a “2” wasn’t something that had much appeal to them.

A few days after that, Bob Stauffer speculated that a one-year deal was the most likely route out of the current impasse between player and team.

What happens if we combine those two reports?

The Subban Contract

PK subban

The two-year bridge deal Subban signed with Montreal is an interesting one because there were some unique circumstances at play. First, it came in a lockout-shortened season. Second, it came after the start of said season; the Habs were already 3-1-0 when Subban agreed to the deal.

Via NHL Numbers, here’s how the deal was structured:

  • First year: $2.0 million in salary
  • Second year: $3.75 million in salary

Subban’s cap hit was the average of those two numbers, but that doesn’t really capture the essence of the deal. Essentially, Subban played half a year at a number low enough to knock the cap hit down and then played a full season at a dollar figure high enough to satisfy him.

In other words, if the Oilers and Schultz are looking at a one-year deal, I imagine the dollar figure we’re talking about isn’t at a modest $2-something but rather more in the $3.5 million range – a deal based on the second year of the Subban contract. Conveniently enough, that’s a dollar figure in the range of his entry-level salary and bonuses figure.

What Does This Mean for the Oilers?

Craig MacTavish9

The contract that we’ve just hypothesized is not a value deal. For a restricted free agent like Schultz, a one-year pact in the $3.5 million range is an overpay based on what the market has given players in similar positions, an overpay based on what Schultz has proven at the NHL level, and an invitation for another overpay a year from now.

However. The organization clearly believes in Schultz, and may decide that a slight overpay on a short-term deal isn’t a problem if it keeps a valuable (and still developing) asset happy. The team did the same with Nikita Nikitin not long ago; there the upside was a stronger left side defence and here the upside is keeping a key player in the fold.

On a one-year deal, I personally think a $3.5 million valuation (or something in the range) is far too steep for the potential reward (which is basically having this same conversation next summer instead of now). If the Oilers are willing to sacrifice money to get something done, at the very least it really ought to be a two-year deal that gives them time to get a definitive read on the player and maybe even the opportunity to get some value out of the contract.


  • BlazingSaitls

    Just because one side sees Subban as a comparable, doesn’t mean he gets 3.5 million dollars.

    In fact if both sides agreed that Subban was a comparable the deal would be signed already.

    I don’t see Schultz getting 3.5 million on a one year deal.

  • BlazingSaitls

    Subban is a star. Charisma for days. One of the faces of the NHL. Absolutely beloved in MTL.

    Jultz is the second coming of Jay Bouwmeester. Sure the potential may be there. The talent may be there but it comes with the charisma of a damp rag.

    Someone posted a while back. (paraphrasing) Move over Gagner there is a new whipping boy in town. Referring to Jultz.

    Ive tried not to go down this path but its increasingly harder to resist.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The business side rears its ugly head again. It’s become obvious they are at a crossroads. The Schultz camp feel the 4-4.5 is justified, and the experts feel not a nickel over 3.5 on simply a 1 yr deal. I’m just an RFA, a second class citizen. Pizz me off while you still have the chance.

    The Oilers traded Ryan Smyth over a hundred grand per season difference. I can’t imagine the ego involved and a million difference will end any different than the Ryan Smyth deal did.

    A very promising player chooses Edmonton above all others. Within 2 yrs he’s already looking elsewhere, much like Jeff Petry is right now. MacTavish must’ve known there was going to be a problem when he gave a total stranger (Nikitin) 8.4 over 2 years. Craig has probably made the decision already and is just looking for the best return. Guess that thanks, but no thanks can work both ways. Not often do you see it served up to a player already wearing an Oiler jersey. How else can you interpret a money squabble with so much cap room left. Sign him to a two year deal. If you don’t like his progress then trade him.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Money squabbles happen quite frequently.

      Jake Gardiner has been used as a player with many similarities to Schultz. A year ago he had a money squabble with the Buds. He didn’t sign a contract until the start of training camp, a one year bridge. He has just signed a 5 year deal. To say that a contract negotiation dragging on means a player is done with a team is just nonsense.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I was just stating the Oilers have so few potential impact players to begin with. Why treat Justin Schultz like he’s anything less than a core type of player?

        This is an organization who hands out faith based agreements regularly (Hall,Eberle and RNH) Only Hall is giving them their moneys worth in that group to date. Why doesn’t Schultz get the same type of core treatment?

        I can’t see how that would be considered nonsense, when they do this all the time. 5 for Hemsky, 5.5 for Horcoff, 4.5 for Gagner, 3.75 for Dubnyk. 4.2 for Nikitin and so on.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          There is no doubt that the Oil’s management has been a disaster in many area, and talent evaluation and therefore contract management is at the top of the list. However, you seem to be advocating to continue along with this type of approach. If the Oil are to move forward they will need to link pay with performance much better than they have done over the last number of years.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            The Oilers have a long history of faith based contracts. If they didn’t serve those up, they’d have an even more difficult time retaining players in this clearly B market.

            Like I mentioned before….. 5 for Hemsky, 5.5 for Horcoff, 4.5 for Gagner, 3.75 for Dubnyk. 4.2 for Nikitin and so on.

            As we can see as recent as nearly 7 weeks ago. They aren’t anywhere close to moving forward with giving Nikitin that stupid contract. Timing is everything. They’re squeezing the wrong Charmin. Justin could even be better than Nikitin this season.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Signing a player who.has 122 games played and a 30+ point season to his credit to a 4+ million contract is exaxtly the moronic type of move this poser would want to make

          • Sevenseven

            I assumed his defensive play was widely known as common kbowledge.

            Considering the total package as a player Schultz foesnt deserve what hes allegedly asking for

        • toprightcorner

          You are obviously giving this management team too much credit. I have already stopped trying to be logical because after all, this is the worst managed team in pro sports. If there is a way to drive it deeper into the ground they will find a way! Even if they were given 6 first overall picks in a row this management would still find a way to screwit up.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Cause it sets the tone for all future contracts. How the hell cant you see that!!!!

          Eberle had a 76 pt 30 goal season. RNH is their best center and had a 52 pt in 62 game season. Dubnyk.was tracking well as a decent goalie befpre last year. Nikitin is a veteran dman which we desperately need so.we dont have to rush the young dmen. Hemsky and Horcoff were not signed by Mac. Which leaves Gagner as one bad contract delt out by Mac.

          As the article states in a nutshell, use leverage when you can. Schultz would be a damn fool to holdout at this point in his short career.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      You dont just give players more money because you have cap space. Schultz deserves what he is going to get from Mac

      And what proof do you have that he is looking elsewhere? Even if he is so be it hes got zero leverage. Use your brain for once and not your hate coloured glasses

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Temper temper Harry.

        You wouldn’t need to manage your anger issues better, if you could learn to manage your obvious stupidity problem.

        Just saying….

        It’s human nature to start to look at the grass on the other side of the fence when negotiations hit a snag like this. Were you just pucking born yesterday? Take a hike kid. Enjoy grade 10 starting next week.

        • BlazingSaitls

          You seem to consistently attack everyone that disagrees with you and your go to is always a comment about them going to school. Maybe if you were better educated you wouldn’t make such stupid comments and come across like such an ass. You should think about that.

          • BlazingSaitls

            Maybe if he spent more less time bare knuckle alley fighting and more time reading up on hockey he would know relatively simple concepts like the one you mentioned with Gadiner.

            25man camp??!! Thats priceless

          • Quicksilver ballet

            25man camp??!! Thats priceless


            You can change the numbers discussed to support your argument all you want. The fact is, I’ve never ever said that. I mentioned a 45 man camp.

            If you had any balls. You’d do some research and find that post (25 man camp) instead of talking out of your arse like you always do.

            Prove me wrong. Or, just stop your it with of your silly schoolyard games.

          • I dont have the time to.go.back and sift through article after article to prove your ignorance. You as well as others know that youve said time and time again that training camp is useless and should be reduced to the main team plus a few others.

            Why dont you educate us on how to fight. Now that was entertaining

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Just as I thought.

            You’re just a flat out liar, creating your own fiction to support your claim. Proving the only ignorance here is your own.

            Play your games on someone else who’ll give you the time of day. Only the pathetic create stories they can’t back up/prove.

        • toprightcorner

          Figures how you would respond to a bonehead comment with yet another one. Oilers have 8 mil in csp space why dont they offer him that gor one year? Or how about your brilliant idea of a 25 man camp?

          Your a damn prove it with every key stroke

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Like RNH is a 6 million dollar player this coming season. Talk about your faith based agreements.

            You were obviously paying attention when I commented on the benefits
            of a 45 man training camp. It’s strange nobody remembers any of the jibberish you put up. I’m honored to be a must read on your list. I am a little tired of your Pot calling the kettle black game though.

            [To Quote Harry]:Your a damn fool an prove it with every key stroke.

            Well, i’ll just leave that one alone. I should’ve said grade 7 I guess.

          • BlazingSaitls

            Dont flatter yourself dipsh’t. I read the comments section in general.

            Youve served up.more horse crap ideas and negative thoughts on this site its no.wonder you are the alltime leader in trashes. I love how you back pedal with your “25 man” camp idea too.

            Keep attacking people intelligence too that seems to be your go to. Woudnt expect much more from a name caller who.needs a fictional character to make himself feel cool.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I can’t help but think that Schultz’s agent is playing some nasty hardball and this deal will get done before the season start. If not the Oilers must use their leverage to keep this bridge deal at smart money or let Schultz sit and see who blinks first. Nurse would be more than happy to fill in.

  • Reg Dunlop

    If Schultz holds out are the Oil a weaker team? They are doubtless a different squad, less offence from the blueline and more button-down in the defensive zone; but are they less likely to win NHL games? I don’t think so. Time to parlay Justin into some other asset. Remember, he didn’t cost anything to acquire. Dealing him is like gambling with house money.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We have klefbom and Aulie as seventh and eighth defencemen. Trading Schultz would allow us to clear up the defence log jam. Plus we don’t necessarily need an offensive defenceman at this point and we could possibly get trade him with a pick for a quality second or third line centre

  • Sevenseven

    Hes a core guy? A powerplay specialist that unless he learns how to play defense, will be playing 3rd pairing minutes? Mact was wrong to call this guy a core player, but right to be tough on him. His agent needs to be brought back down to earth. I see nurse, klefbom, Marincin and petry passing him on the depth chart.

  • BlazingSaitls

    I really cant comment on this too much for fear of railing off an extremely negative tirade. Ill say I’m extremely disappointed in Jultz and his agent. MacT has to sort this out A.S.A.P. The last thing Oilers need is this Albatross around the teams neck. Not with other glaring, positional issues at hand.

  • You’re absolutely right, Jonathan.

    Some people have been talking about bridge deals for Schultz that start with a “4.” That’s nuts. The $3.5M mark is the absolute top end, even in a two-year deal.

    Schultz doesn’t have to like it. He just has to sign it — or sit. Not enough teams use leverage when they have it for fear of offending the player. How many agents worry about offending the team? Not many, and not Wade Arnott in this case.

    • Agreed.

      Besides, even if they do offend the player – Subban missed camp and games two years ago and by all accounts had a nasty arbitration hearing this summer – a lot of times the relationship can be mended with money down the road if the case warrants it.

    • Sorensenator

      Schultz had an almost identical PPG % to Subban in their first two years. But I guess Subban is a defensive juggernaut so that makes it “not close”