Every Thursday we will discuss different trade scenarios. Today’s topic is P.K Subban.
Why would the Canadiens even considering trading him? Could he make his way to Edmonton?
There is no debate he is one of the top-ten right-shooting D-men in the NHL, along with Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, Brent Burns, Alex Pietrangelo and Dustin Byfuglien. Throw in lefties Duncan Keith, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan Suter, Roman Josi, Viktor Hedman, Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie and his place among the top-15 NHL blueliners is valid.
People will debate where he ranks among the top-15 defenders, but he’s unquestionably among the league’s elite defenders.
Since entering the NHL in 2010/2011, Subban has scored the 5th most points among blueliners. His 276 points trail only Weber (277), Keith Yandle (284), Byfuglien (288) and Karlsson (359). Throw in the fact those were his first NHL seasons, and it is hard not to be impressed with his accomplishments thus far.
I had TSN 690 host Tony Marinaro on my show yesterday, and when I asked if it was realistic to believe Subban could be moved, Marinaro responded without hesitation, “Yes.”
Why would the Habs consider this, I asked Marinaro?
“There is no doubt he is the Canadiens best defender, and he’s among the top-ten in the NHL. Guys like that you don’t usually want to trade. There are some holes on the Canadiens, mainly on offence. They desperately need a centre and a right winger. If they don’t win any of the lotteries, they won’t be able to add a player who can step in right away. They would like to get multiple players, ideally a centre and a D-man.
“There are a couple more reasons they are contemplating moving him. His no-movement clause kicks in July 1st, and after that he has to okay any trade for the next six years. And as much as the Canadiens love things about Subban’s game, there are a few things that make them rather uneasy.
“One is when they feel he isn’t playing the team game. I know every player in the NHL makes mistakes, but there are cases where he is the last man back and he spins and beats somebody, and instead of advancing the puck, he tries to make another move. At times he picks up the puck and the forwards are waiting with their sticks on the ice, waiting for the pass, wanting a pass, and there is a lot of dipsy doodling and turning back from Subban.That aggravates some of the players on his team.
“There is something else, which has never been admitted by anyone in the organization on record. PK has done an unbelievable job of branding himself. His PK76 brand, he has done an amazing job with it. In my opinion he has made himself the most marketable player in the NHL, without being the best player in the league. He’s got a bunch of sponsors throwing a lot of endorsement money his way. And that is great for PK Subban, he is probably smarter than most players in the league when it comes to business.
“But from what I hear, the Canadiens aren’t crazy about the fact the PK76 logo is front and centre. They would like the Canadiens logo to be front and centre more often than not. So, there are a few things, when you add them all up, I believe it is a real possibility he will be traded. He definitely isn’t an untouchable. Who can we say is an untouchable in the National Hockey League? Connor McDavid, who else?”
Subban’s game isn’t perfect, but few are. He still takes more risks than many NHL coaches would like, but I believe you can work with him to improve. He is only entering his seventh season. We’ve seen many defencemen evolve and excel in their mid to late 20s. He is entering the prime of his career, and with experience he will realize making the safe play more often than not is okay. You still want him to try and make plays, because he has the ability to, but knowing when and where is imperative.
I don’t doubt the Habs are a bit peeved with his marketing brand. I’m sure they would prefer during the season that he is a Canadien, and in the off-season he can push his own brand. A simple conversation could solve that.
However, Subban is extremely generous with his time and money. He truly cares about kids, and his $10 million donation to Montreal’s Children’s Hospital was incredible. You want players on your NHL team who are invested in the community. I believe too many players don’t do enough, and I applaud Subban for doing what he does. I’d rather ask a player to pull back on his branding and appearances than have to beg him to get involved.
I’d be very leery of moving Subban, because there simply aren’t many D-men who can match his ability. The one concern could be his contract.
Subban’s cap hit is the highest among defenders. He is a $9 million cap hit for the next six seasons.
Weber is $7.86 million.
Byfuglien is $7.6 million
Suter is $7.58 million
Letang $7.2 million
Doughty is $7 million
Karlsson and Pietrangelo are $6.5 million.
You would have to offer Montreal an attractive package to acquire Subban, but you could add in a player who is one or two million outside his price point while doing so. In four years Subban’s contract could look very good, when Doughty, Karlsson and others get a raise, but until then it is safe to say he is a bit overpriced.
If the Oilers won the lottery would they trade the #1 pick and Andrej Sekera (I don’t see him arguing going to Montreal, a great city, and he has Price and Matthews) for Subban? The Oilers would have to shed some salary and Sekera is a proven top-four D-man.
Would the Habs make that deal? Would you? I can see pros and cons for both sides. At the end of the season, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said he wasn’t trading Subban. But that was before the draft lottery.
No team could offer him the #1 pick in a package, but this Saturday that will change. We will know who has the #1 overall pick, and if the Oilers crush the hearts of every other fan base — again — and win the lottery, maybe Bergevin and Chiarelli have a conversation.
I believe the chances are slim the Habs trade Subban. He’s extremely popular in the community and he’s an elite defender. However, I’ve never seen a star player get ripped as hard as Subban has been by his own head coach. Maybe it is just tough love from Michel Therrien, which is fine in my eyes, but maybe the coach is truly unhappy with his star blueliner.
If he is, then maybe the door for a trade is open. All I know for sure, is if Subban’s name comes up in conversation with the Oilers, the trade offer would have to include the #1 overall pick and more.
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