The shortened NHL season leaves teams a very small window to make or break their season. The league insisted that a normal trade deadline be imposed, though that deadline comes on April 3 as opposed to the usual date near the beginning of March. Due to the shortened season, the playoffs begin only three weeks after the trade deadline, meaning teams have little time to cash in on their mid-season gambles.
One of the most sought after players is top defensemen PK Subban, who quickly became one of the youngest leaders of the Montreal Canadiens. Subban’s contract expired during the offseason and unlike other high profile players; the defensemen hadn’t committed to a contract when the NHL lockout began. Now, the lockout has been resolved – yet Subban remains unsigned.
As a restricted free agent, Subban must give the Canadiens the first opportunity to make a legitimate offer and negotiate towards a deal. Montreal continues to speak with Subban and his agent, which NHL insiders say is a 2 year deal worth approximately $5 million a year. The offer is due to the league’s new collective bargaining agreement that bans long-term, front-end loaded contracts players such as Ilya Kovalchuk in New Jersey received from their teams. The ongoing negotiations and Subban’s insistence to wait for a better offer, have several pundits admitting they don’t know how to bet on Subban’s intentions.
The Philadelphia Flyers also need depth on their blue line, and have reportedly sent requests to Montreal for negotiating rights with Subban. The Flyers are a physically enforcing team that matches Subban’s style on the ice, and feel he would be a great fit to add depth to their blue line. The Flyers have been plagued by injuries to their roster, most notably with former captain Chris Pronger. Philadelphia sees Subban as an aspiring player that could eventually match the charisma of their former captain.
Insiders expect the Subban saga to come to an end sooner rather than later, but where the enforcing defensemen ends up playing is anyone’s gamble.