Jan 13th, 2013 | By | Category: Canadiens, Latest News

In the next few hours you’re likely to be reading of a restricted free agent Canadiens contract for P.K. Subban.

Or not.

Without a contract P.K. Subban remained in Toronto Sunday as the Canadiens opened their brief training camp at the Brossard training centre.

Subban is in what hockey insiders like to call the “gap” stage of his career.

The “gap contract” is a  contract signed when a player moves out of his three year entry level status into that two year period of restricted free agency which eventually progress to “unrestricted” status.  The system is designed to control the escalation of players salaries through the first five years of their NHL career.

Through his agent Don Meehan , Subban is trying to do is circumvent the “gap” by going directly from the  entry level to fully blown long term contract.   All of this is only rumour but, considering the drawn-out nature of the negotiation, we can safely assume that Subban is looking to completely bye-pass the restricted free agent stage of his career.

Nice try.  But it’s not going to fly.   It might have, had another team produced an offer sheet to Subban but the league’s other twenty-nine teams have been silent.

To understand the Canadiens hardline on the new Subban contract you need to look at their own history in dealing with retricted free agency ……

…..Carey Price‘s two year “gap” contract gave him 2.5 million and three million dollars respectively.  In July, as an unrestricted free agent GM Marc Bergevin  signed him to a well-earned a six year 41 million dollar deal.

…..In 2011, Max Pacioretty signed a restricted contract for 1.5 million dollars and 1.75 million which will expire at the end of this season.  In August, the Canadiens gave him a six year extension worth a total of 31 million which will kick in next season.

By their contracts, I think we safely assume the Canadiens consider both players to be franchise cornerstones.  Subban, I am sure will ultimately belong in that category too…… but he’s not there yet.  He remains a work in progress and restricted free agent money of the kind offered Price and Pacioretty is completely in order.

Considering the game’s new financial reality, it’s my guess that, unless Subban is prepared to take a big discount in order to secure a long term deal, he’s going to have to live with two years at between 2.5 to three millions per season.

So, Subban sits in Toronto stalemated by a system that, rightly or wrongly,is designed to limit a player’s power of negotiation, for the first five years of a career.

His time will come.  Just not right now.

Update – Don Meehan also represents  Michael Del Zotto, the Rangers highest scoring defenceman.  His situation mirrored that of Subban.   Sunday morning Del Zotto agreed to a two year gap contract worth 2.55 million per season.



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  1. SeanJ says:

    Here’s the problem

    You say Carey price got a well earned 41M contract?? Who are you kidding? He lost his job to Halak remember???? what did he proved after that? Good goalie at times yes!LOTS of potentials yes…but did not prove anything….

    Max P had 1 good season… Look at his stats…
    Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 27 17 15 32 20 4 — — — — —
    2010-11 Montreal Canadiens NHL 37 14 10 24 39 -1 — — — — —
    2011-12 Montreal Canadiens NHL 79 33 32 65 56

    After ONE good season in Mtl !!! yes ONE good season…he gets a nice long term contract….

    Now Subban like it or not for 2 season and playoffs – was their best D – finished in the plus+
    and is showing tons of potential… got stats similar to mr Doughthy in LA (much better team then the habs)
    and hes not “franchise cornerstone” –
    Please theres only one reason why he’s not signed long term yet 1) he’s young and got too much energy for the old school grandpa’s in the montreal locker…. 2) he’s dark skinned.
    It had nothing to do with his skills… and Mr Mehan and lots of fans knows it… but somehow some of these so called “expert” in the press are scared to say whats really going on….

  2. philippe ouimet says:

    I have to disagree with SeanJ and his assesment of PK Subban since he omitted to address the players attitude.PK has demonstrated time and again his non conforming selfish attitude so much so that it has disrupted and devided players in the dressing room. PK is PK and thinks only for PK’s good he is not fitting in as a team player . Sad real sad because he is a very talented player . IMHO I suspect the CH has figured it out. It’s obvious a rookie can’t slicker Timmins/Dudley/Therrien and Bergevin . It’s beginning to smell like an important secret trade is in the works.

  3. Boog says:

    Philippe, you are right on.

    One game last year in which RDS was showing the Habs in the hallway before coming on the ice, P.K. was acting like a team leader, tapping a number of players on the shin pads with his stick, etc. I was embarrassed for the team. They were literally shrinking away from hiim, totally un-psyched and wishing PK would just go away. It made me cringe just watching him make an egotistical spectacle of himself.

    You don’t build a new era in Montreal by signing a prima dona to a contract which would become the new albatross around the Molson neck.

    Time to get rid of PK while the value is as high as it is going to get.

  4. philippe ouimet says:

    You are also spot on when you mentioned …You don’t build a new era in MONTREAL by signing a prima donna!!!!! Those who played the game succesfully will confirm that it’s a team effort and the closer players become ….the better they get… There are still a few of those old timers ( grandpas ) around that can PROVE and confirm that!!!!

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