NHL Canadian Corner – July 20, 2013.

The notable games involving Canadian NHL clubs for next season, plus the latest on P.K. Subban, Phil Kessel, Zach Bogosian and more.

CBC.CA: Hockey Night in Canada’s 61st season will open on October 1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Montreal Canadiens while the Edmonton Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets. The site also provided a list of notable games for all seven Canadian NHL teams.

P.K.Subban's Norris win makes him more expensive for the Canadiens to re-sign.

P.K.Subban’s Norris win makes him more expensive for the Canadiens to re-sign.

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said he’s in no hurry to engage in contract extension talks this summer. Subban said he has a year remaining on his current contract, after which he’ll be a restricted free agent again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At the time of Subban’s signing, I wrote it was a gamble by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, and suggested if Subban blossomed into a superstar during the two-year deal, it would prove costly to re-sign him next time around. Subban now has a Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman on his resume, and sees Kris Letang, one of the runners-up for the Norris, pulling in $7.25 million per season on an eight-year deal. Next summer, Subban will also have arbitration rights, and could also become a target for an offer sheet.No wonder, then, he’s willing to wait until next summer to talk contract.

Even if his performance in 2013-14 doesn’t match up to his Norris-winning season, he still has that trophy on his resume, meaning he’ll command north of $7.5 million per season. And if he’s a Norris contender again? Try $8.5 million per. And if he wins it again? Hello, $9 million per season, maybe more. Oh, you don’t think he’ll get that much? Ho-ho! You don’t know how this game is played. Subban and his agent will seek what they consider fair market price, and since Letang got $7.25 million per, bet your ass Subban seeks at least $8 million per season.

Now, the good news for the Habs is if the cap jumps back up to $70 million again as anticipated, they’ll have over $30 million in cap space, more than enough to re-sign Subban, plus it should leave enough to re-sign RFA Lars Eller and either re-sign or replace Andrei Markov, Raphael Diaz, Alexei Emelin and Brian Gionta. The bad news is, if they let his contract talks drag on too long into next summer, he could prove too tempting a target for a rival club to swoop in with an offer sheet. And if that happens, the Habs will be forced to match at a salary not of their choosing.

TORONTO STAR: A.J. Warner believes Maple Leafs Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf will be in line for big raises next season. Warner pegs Kessel’s market value at $8.1 million per season on a maximum eight-year deal, while Phaneuf’s would be five-years at $6.9 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Warner’s assessment is spot on for both players. Now I realize some Leafs fans will claim neither player is worth that much, but that’s the reality of today’s NHL market. I pegged Kessel at $7.5 million per, and Phaneuf staying at $6.5 million. If they don’t get those salaries from the Leafs, they’ll certainly get them from other clubs if they become unrestricted free agents. I believe the Leafs want to retain Kessel and will pay top dollar to do so, but Phaneuf’s future with the Leafs is murky, with trade rumors swirling for some time. Ultimately, if Phaneuf wants to remain a Leaf, he might have to consider a pay cut to $6 million per on a shorter-term.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is focused on re-signing Zach Bogosian, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little before their salary arbitration hearings. Little’s hearing is slated for next Wednesday (July 24), Wheeler’s on July 29 and Bogosian’s on August 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets don’t want any of these cases to go to arbitration. These things almost never end well, and almost always result in the player bolting for unrestricted free agency when his arbitration-awarded contract is over.


  1. Not even August yet and Ive already got trade deadline day circled, Dion or Phil tough call but I got to believe Phil is staying he makes the most sense, Im fine with the money he will get Ive said all along he is an elite talent in the league, he should be paid like it.

  2. If someone pays Phanuef 7 million for his next contract …. I don’t even know how to express how horribly wretchedly idiotic that would be.

    • Im not sure why or who started using corsi numbers for hockey players but there are many examples why this stat is meaningless and should be regarded with a grain of salt to say the very least, it is a dumb attempt to quantify hockey players abilities and skills similar to baseball players in a “money ball” approach the giveaways ok we get it, he turns the puck over it dosent mean he is not a top d man in the league and should be paid accordingly I agree Dion is probably not worth 7 mill and will likely be moved because the Leafs wont have the money to resign him but to say he is worth 25% less then what other comparable d men make just because its Dion Phaneuf and the Toronto media dissect every tid bit of information and put every piece of every play he makes (or misses) under a microscope is a joke. If and when Dion goes and if he is played with another capable d man there is going to be a lot of egg on alot of faces because he is still a fairly young D man and probably will be a top 10 guy in the league where ever he goes to next. If you look at the majority of these new great defence men around the league none have the physical game of Dion Phaneuf yet he still puts up numbers close to theirs.

      • Just not 7million numbers. He should be 3-4 D a d 2nd unit PP. 4.5-5 mill max on the shorter term

        • no, no he shouldnt… hes a top pairing guy and hes definitely and most obviously a top PP unit guy… corsi numbers are retarded and about as accurate as the +/- statistic… i can agree 7 mill is a stretch for him but to peg him less than 5 is even more ludacris in the other direction… he will probably make the same as what hes making now

        • Name 30-60 D men with better numbers than Dion I mean 30-60 d men with more points (he is 9) hits (top 10) blocked shots (top 25) and ice time (top 5)…then I would believe he is not a top pairing D in the league, there are 30 teams how do you figure he is a 3-4 d guy?

        • “Just not 7million numbers. He should be 3-4 D a d 2nd unit PP. 4.5-5 mill max on the shorter term” Very true won the Norris and what? Letang Stanley cup winner and Subban great Defensemen but Letang definitely holds more than Subban my guess is Subban gets Price money similar what Detroit did with contracts comparing Linstrom or Yzerman to whoever not exceeding Linstrom and Yzerman my guess Spector

  3. Karlsson’s contract is starting to look like a bargain for Ottawa…

    • Karlsson’s contract was always a bargain and what NHL GM’s should be using as a counter to Letang.

  4. Phaneuf will absolutely have to take a pay cut to remain as a captain with the Leafs. If he askes for a penny over 5 mil i’d let him walk or trade him at the deadline. Lupul would then get the “C” probably. Kessel will prob get a 8 year $56 similar to P.Bergeron’s extention and be worth every penny of it.

    • No paycuts deal him at the…before the start of training camp or at the deadline for some assets, lock up Phil for 7.5

      • and replace him with what? we dont even have a number 2 Dman to play with pahneuf and you want to get rid of him? so you want our top pairing to have 3-4 guys in it? then you will actually see what bad dmen look like

        • No I dont want to get rid of him I just dont think we are going to be able to sign both him and Phil if you look at our cap situation and the ammount of players we will have to sign to fill a roster next year you may agree, Id rather get maximum value for whoever we dont sign, I believe that will be and should be Dion, we are deeper with D prospects then we are potential top 6 wingers it only make sense he is the one to go. So this being the case Id rather trade him now incase he gets hurt during the season and try and bring in a top pairing shut down type D (big physical dosent have to be a puck mover offensive type) which would be. Far cheaper then Dion and play Franson and whoever we could get for Dion. I agree Dion is a top D in the league and have said it many times but in reality he is not taking a pay cut or playing for the same ammount next year and Id rather not risk injury to hurt his value on the trade market, if you hold on to him till the deadline Im not sure how the team responds to the optics of trading their captain that close to the playoffs so even tho he may fetch more at that point, I believe the time is before training camp to move Dion.

  5. There was no gamble with Subbans two year deal because MB had no choice with the cap going down and the tagging rule. The only way to make everything fit was to sign a two year deal, having Subban eave money and term on the table and deal with it once there was cap flexibility later. You are right, Spector that it will cost to keep him but that is the only way to get him signed last season and hope to resign him. I really think Markov gets shopped and moved on or before the trade deadline to get additional cap room for Subban and Gionta will not be backf, unless is a short seriously reduced salary IMO.

  6. Kessel has proven himself with continued improvement, maturity and scoring in the top 10. He is worth the money and shows he will be a productive cornerstone for years to come. Honestly I was a doubter for years but cannot deny he has become a critical component of the Leafs future. If we could somehow acquire Seguin in the next year or two we would be kings of the world !!! One can always dream. Trade Phaneuf while he still has some value.

  7. Phil is elite? boderline on his best day he is a damn good player but too 1 dimensional ie no backchecking, coasting, etc. not worth that much good at maaybe a mill and a half more than what he is currently making

    • Watch a leaf game this year he was a pretty decent back checker and give your head a shake when one of the top 10 in points and top 5 goal scorers in the league consistently over the past 5 years is only worth a million dollar raise on a contract he signed in 09. Again should be paid the same as the other Elite guys in the league.

    • did you watch the leafs this year? phil was first one back on pretty much every back check….

      • Is this really Darcy ? If so you were an awesome Leaf !! Wish u stayed for less $$

  8. and trade dion for whatever u can get he isnt worth what he will get as a ufa he was an amazing talent his first few seasons but has lost his edage and fiercness which is a damn shame i though he was gonna be the second coming of scott stevens