The Montreal Canadiens and P.K. Subban agreed to a long-term contract just 24 hours after their scheduled arbitration hearing Friday morning, cementing the Norris Trophy winner with the team.
The Canadiens confirmed the contract is for eight years. Bob McKenzie reports the cap hit is $9 million per year.
This coming after many Canadiens fans were panicked that the situation made it’s way in front of an arbitrator.
The contract will probably make Subban the highest cap-hit of any defenceman in the National Hockey League but that isn’t to say that Subban is expected to be the best defenceman in the league. Circumstances such as UFA years, the cap going up and other things factor into this as he creates a new market for defencemen.
A lot of people will look at the number and thing the Canadiens could have saved long-term if they hadn’t offered Subban a bridge contract two years ago. While that may be true, you have to consider the last two seasons.
The Canadiens had a cap crunch the last two years. A big contract to Subban would have hindered their ability to field a competitive team. It would have meant, just last year, no Thomas Vanek, probably no Mike Weaver. In 2012-13, it means perhaps no Colby Armstrong and severely limited who they could recall when they were still stuck with Tomas Kaberle‘s contract.
There’s no questioning what Subban brings to this team. He is a star defenceman, and while he’s not perfect, he gets a lot more criticism than he deserves. This team is much better with Subban – no matter what the cap hit – than without him or with him on a short-term deal. He eases the transition with an aging Andrei Markov on his last contract.
Subban has been with this team through two trips to the third round of the playoffs. You know he wants to take that next step and any of the 30 teams in the league would take Subban on their teams.
You knew a deal would get done simply because he is so important to this team. Look at the Canadiens defence without Subban. Markov, Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin, Mike Weaver, Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi. Does that even look like a playoff team? Maybe, but definitely not a contending team.
The Canadiens are a better team over the next eight years now than they were a day ago, and both sides are relieved that they now can relax and focus on hockey for the foreseeable future.