PK Subban and the $72M contract

August 3, 2014, by
Troll City

Troll City

Montreal Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin made PK Subban the third richest player n the National Hockey League yesterday, locking the defenseman down for 8 years at $72 million dollars or, for those mathematically challenged, $9M a year. This comes after the 25 year old Norris Trophy winner of the lockout-shortened 2013 season made only $3.75M last year. The deal was the first to go to arbitration since 2011, despite being settled independently after the first hearing.

With the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane signings being significant, it’s important to take a look at the Subban signing as well. He’ll likely be their next captain, as former captan Brian Gionta left for Buffalo during this offseason, and Subban is viewed to be an enormous talent who is outspoken, to say the least. The defense in light of such figures is that with the Canadian TV deal signed last year should raise the cap enough that, towards the end of this deal, Subban will be a steal. But is this logical?

With the losses endured by Montreal (Gionta, Thomas Vanek, Daniel Briere), it was imperative that they come to a deal with Subban. In my ever-so-humble opinion, though, the eight year deal at such a high price is very worrysome. You can depend on the cap to rise, and I fully expect it to, but next offseason will be a rough few weeks for Bergevin. Forwards Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk will be (restricted) free agents come next summer, and short of horrendous seasons, both will demand significant pay raises from their current sub-million dollar deals.

This signing brings a lot of light and perspective to other situations. My favorite ever Habs-Rangers connection (yes, even more than the Rangers knocking Montreal out of the playoffs last year) is our number one defenseman, a Canadiens prospect, Ryan McDonagh. McDonagh has never won a Norris, but he did play for the U.S. National Team, something that was a crap shoot for Subban, and McDonagh is undoubtedly on his way to Ranger greatness. McDonagh also makes $4.7M/year through 2019-20 (let that sink in for a second. It’s so glorious). Perspective is a hell of a thing, huh?

Furthermore, this brings to light how roughly half of the fanbase felt after Derick Brassard signed last Sunday. After everybody was in a tizzy over the figures (I’m probably paraphrasing here, but “oh my god $5M that is soooo much money but damn it Sather why aren’t you signing anybody!!!”), seeing not one but three players get astronomical payouts this offseason should put you at ease. It looks as though $5M is a great payout for a center who had comparable stats (45 points vs. Subban’s 53) and edged out the 9 million dollar man in power play points, despite Subban being the first power play point.

I know what you’re thinking: Brassard is a center, Subban is a defenseman, and you’re comparing apples and oranges. Based solely on position, yes, you’re right. However, even Montreal fans must admit that Subban’s defensive play is average at the very best. The reason that Subban was often overlooked throughout the Olympics is due to his defensive inability. He plays a great offense, but when you’re going against players like Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, it’s truly difficult to make yourself irreplaceable when you don’t feel like playing the position you’re given.

Again, Montreal HAD to sign Subban, but for $9M/year I think we might be looking at buyout city in a few years.

"PK Subban and the $72M contract", 4 out of 5 based on 6 ratings.
Categories : Analysis


  1. tony says:

    Really good contract for both subban and the habs. Saying otherwise really proves you know nothing about hockey, just like me. He is a superstar, playing like one when it counts ( aka. The playoff), he is great ambassador for hockey plus he plays a style that fan loves. I would have easily given him 9.5 so at 9, its a great signs by Bergevin.

    • Gary says:

      Yeh, really good… for anyone who dislikes the Canadiens. The guy wanted the 9 mil. and they had to pay it, considering his profile. I’d take the persona-free McDonagh over Subban any day of the week, and that’s not homerism talking. I’m not even from NY.

    • Becky says:

      He was benched on the power play in the ECF. Do we have differing opinions on what playing well when it matters is?

      • paulronty says:

        Not to mention that he was a spare on the Can Olympic Team. Simply another ridiculous NHL contract. I would have traded him for a haul rather than pay that kind of money.

        • Becky says:

          After tons of speculation that he wouldn’t make it at all. Sign me up for 9 mil a year!

    • Puck Luck @Centerman21 says:

      For a defenseman? You’re telling me that Subban is $3.3 million better than Ryan McDonagh? I’d take Mac over about 98% of the defenseman in the league. Subban isn’t in that 2% either. He choked in the ECF and is a loudmouth that the Montreal veteran players are gonna get sick of. He’s had problems in the past with fighting with teammates in practice. I bet he doesn’t make it to the 4th year of that contract in Montreal. He has topped out as far as point production and there’s better defenseman making much less. Bad deal. Put Bergevin on the worst GM list above.

  2. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Gross over payment and this contract should not be the way players will want to gauge their worth in the future. This is still a team sport and as a player I would think you want to be a champion. The team needs to have the flexibility to make the moves that are necessary to accomplish this.
    Take a look at the Rangers when you have Lundqvuist and Nash signed for this year for 8.5 mil and 7.8 mil from a payroll of 69 mil. That is 23% of the payroll allocated just to Nash and Lundqvuist and look at the problems we have to truly upgrade the roster.
    Have to ask the players what is important, a fair wage and a chance to be a champion or being grossly overpaid such as quite a few players to include Lundqvuist and Nash.

  3. The Suit says:

    $9M for a guy who was a pylon during the ECFs? Cool.

  4. Gary says:

    It’s a cult of personality with that guy. Talent sure, but 9 mil. talent? Ha ha ha… He’s the face of the franchise now and this is a marketing gimmick.

  5. mikeyyy says:

    Imagine. He could be pairing up with mcd right now.

    Yeah I forgive you glen.

  6. Bloomer says:

    Subbans’ may have a good slapper but he definitely needs work on his defensive play. As far as the cap, any increase is based on revenue growth. I am not convince we will see revenue growth in hockey as projected. There is simply too much competition out there for entertainment dollars and sport fans are getting any wealthier.

  7. Snake says:

    Nice post, Becky. 🙂

    The reason so many fans flip out over signings like Brass’s are that they are *CASUAL* fans. They may love the Rangers. They may/watch/love/know hockey, but they do not have the time or desire to figure out the complexities of the cap. When they hear contract terms even if they have a basic idea where the cap is now and how it works, but when they are required to understand the inflation rate on salaries relative to cap increases they get lost. I’m an analyst and even I get lost. That is why I read BSB. You guys do a great job of explaining the truth so I don’t have to figure it out for myself. LOL

    The NHL could do their fans a favor by discussing the Cap and player contracts using Hockey Dollars or Monopoly money which would stays the same until the end of time. Internally and when negotiating with players, agents and the NHLPA they would still use real dollars (obviously) but when the terms or deals are released they use a multiplier to convert translate it into Hockey Dollars and the fans understand how much Subban is being paid relative to Brassard or Brad Park back in the day.

    The union and owners should love this idea because fans would never really know the ridiculous amounts of cash that teams and players earn and every fan could understand how a signing impacts their team. The NHLPA and owners could then more easily cover their greed and if people “demand” the truth, they sighting privacy concerns (I don’t want my salary published in the NY Times) and the owners go along for the ride. Problem solved.

    Even if that was the case, people will still prematurely freak out and proclaim contracts as “steals” or “gaffs” and it still won’t change the amount of hysteria circulating every time a deal gets done. Good ol’ Richie from Brooklyn can still call in to The FAN to lend his deep insight to the team with a “I juss wanna say da Rangers gotta fire f*c*in’ Tawts!” comment. For the rest of us, we’ll at least be able to understand the relative value of player salaries without amortization tables and spreadsheets. 🙂