With seemingly no progress in P.K. Subban’s contract talks with the Montreal Canadiens, trade and offer sheet speculation is growing.
TORONTO SUN: Chris Stevenson wonders if there’s an NHL team willing to sign Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban to an offer sheet. He suggests the injury-riddled Philadelphia Flyers, who signed Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber last summer to an expensive offer sheet, as a possible candidate, but noted one NHL agent scoffed at the notion, claiming the Canadiens would match any offer for Subban. Stevenson also cited an “NHL executive” claiming “at least three teams” had contacted the Habs to inquire about Subban’s trade status.
PHILLY.COM: cited Josh Rimer, producer for XM’s “NHL Home Ice” and SportsNet in Toronto, reporting the Flyers had contacted the Canadiens about Subban, suggesting Flyers center Sean Couturier would likely be part of the Habs asking price.
LA PRESSE: Mathias Brunet speculated over Subban’s possible trade value, believing if the Habs shop the talented young blueliner, they should get a top-two young defenseman, a first line scorer or a promising one plus a first round pick. Brunet suggested the play of Rafael Diaz could mean the Habs wouldn’t need to get a defenseman back in return.
RDS.CA: Renaud Lavoie also reported on the Subban trade and offer sheet rumors, but cautioned against reading too much into them, suggesting as long as Subban wants to remain a Canadien and GM Marc Bergevin wants to keep him, hope still remains for the two sides to work out a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I used Google to translate Brunet’s and Lavoie’s columns from French to English, so I apologize if anything was lost in translation.
I don’t doubt teams have called Bergevin to ask about Subban, but I still don’t believe he wants to trade the young blueliner. Bergevin’s position is understandable, as he wants to re-sign Subban for an affordable deal allowing for more cap space going forward for other signings or additions, especially with the salary cap next season dropping to $64.3 million.
On the other hand, the Subban camp saw the new contracts other comparable young stars (Eberle, Seguin, Doughty, Eriksson, Hall, E.Kane) received since the summer of 2011, so obviously they want a lucrative, long-term deal, probably five-six years for around $30-$35 million.
Negotiations between the two sides ended Friday with no resolution,and Subban will take the weekend to consider his options. If the Canadiens blueline remains healthy and the team is playing well, the leverage shifts to Bergevin, but if Markov is injured again and/or the Habs struggle, it moves toward Subban. Ultimately, I agree with Lavoie’s take on the situation, and believe the Canadiens will re-sign him, but it will take time, ensuring the trade and offer sheet rumors continue to swirl.