Subban: “I want to be paid what I’m worth”

55 Comments

In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with the Montreal Gazette, PK Subban made one thing abundantly clear.

He knows his value, and he wants to be compensated accordingly.

“It’s come down to this — I want to be paid what I’m worth,” Subban told the Gazette’s Dave Stubbs.

Subban, a restricted free agent, hasn’t played this year as his contract negotiation with the Canadiens continues to drag along.

(The Gazette suggests the Canadiens want a short-term deal to “bridge” Subban to his next contract, which would be more lucrative. Subban wants to be paid what he believes he’s worth to the team.)

While other talented RFA blueliners in similar positions sorted out their deals — John Carlson inked with Washington right before the lockout, Michael Del Zotto signed with the Rangers during training camp — Subban’s situation has developed into a full-blown saga.

Though to be fair, Subban’s situation is rather complex.

His value to Montreal is probably higher than Carlson’s to Washington (where Mike Green plays the most minutes) or Del Zotto’s to New York (where he’s behind Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, maybe Marc Staal too.)

Though he’s only 23, Subban has already played 160 regular-season and 21 playoff games. He also led all Habs blueliners in ice time last year (24:18) and spent extensive time on both the penalty kill and power play.

The flip side, of course, is that the Habs are remarkably deep on defense.

They have seven blueliners on one-way deals and Andrei Markov is healthy for the first time in what feels like forever (Markov already has two goals and is averaging 23:37 a game.)

Regardless, Subban says he knows what he’s worth and wants to be paid accordingly.

“For my style of game and for what I do for the team, the amount of minutes I play and for what I bring to the table, I have to be fairly compensated,” he explained. “We’re not trying to rob the bank here (in contract talks). We’re not reinventing anything. We’re not holding a gun to the Canadiens’ head saying, ‘Pay us this or we’re walking away.’

“We just want to be compensated for what I’m worth.”

The end result in all of this could be a parting of ways via trade, something that has been bandied about but never spoken publicly by either Habs GM Marc Bergevin or Subban’s agent, Don Meehan.

That said, Subban realizes being dealt out of Montreal is a possibility.

“It comes down to this: I’m 23, and at some point I will be playing hockey again. I hope it’s in Montreal because I really and truly want to win there, more than anywhere else in the NHL,” he said.

“Do I see myself playing for any other team? From a business standpoint, I’m sure there are other teams where I could fit in and be a big part of things moving forward, give them a chance to win.

“But ultimately, deep down inside, I want to play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

The Leafs’ remaining schedule is no cakewalk

AP
Leave a comment

The Toronto Maple Leafs took care of business last night, sending the floundering Florida Panthers to a 3-2 defeat at Air Canada Centre.

Now comes the hard part for the young Leafs. They have seven games left to book their first playoff appearance since 2013, and their schedule is no cakewalk.

The Leafs’ next three games are all on the road, in Nashville Thursday, Detroit Saturday, and Buffalo Monday. After that, it’s a four-game home stand to close out the schedule, all against formidable opponents: Washington, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Columbus.

With a four-point playoff cushion, the Leafs can afford to lose a few games down the stretch. But head coach Mike Babcock doesn’t want his players looking too far ahead.

“I really believe with our group if we just focus on the day we’re playing and play right, we have a real good chance to win,” Babcock said. “That’s what we talk about and that’s kind of our mantra every day is just play right, play fast and we have an opportunity to be successful. We don’t get all caught up in the race. We know the standings, it’s in the paper every day, so we know that.”

The Leafs today sent goalie Garret Sparks back to the AHL. That can only mean good news for starter Frederik Andersen, who could play Thursday after missing last night’s victory with an upper-body injury.

Backup Curtis McElhinney got the nod against the Panthers, calling it the biggest game of his career. The 33-year-old then went out and made 25 saves to earn the win.

“It was great,” said McElhinney. “Getting a couple of goals in the first period there helped out a little bit and let me settle into it. It was a nice win.”

Parise ‘pretty black and blue’ after Wilson high stick, but injury not serious

3 Comments

Zach Parise looked in bad shape after taking a Tom Wilson high stick to the face in Minnesota’s loss to Washington on Tuesday.

Thankfully for the Wild, Parise’s early diagnosis is a good one.

“He can see and is fine as far as that goes,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said on Wednesday, per the club’s Twitter account. “He’s sore in the upper body. I don’t think he’ll be out long.”

Boudreau went on to add that Parise was “pretty black and blue” and unlikely to play tomorrow, when Minnesota hosts Ottawa. That said, the club expects the 32-year-old to return next week.

It goes without saying that losing Parise is huge. The alternate captain has 17 goals and 37 points through 64 games this year, and is averaging 17:33 TOI per night. And for a Wild team that’s mired in a horrific slump — just three wins in its last 15 games — being down the services of such a vital contributor is costly.

Related: Stewart fought Wilson in response to the high stick

Stamkos ‘getting really close’ to return

Getty
Leave a comment

It probably won’t happen Thursday against the Red Wings, but Steven Stamkos is getting close to making his return for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“I think we can start putting him in the day-to-day category right now,” said Bolts coach Jon Cooper, per team beat writer Bryan Burns. “I don’t see him playing against Detroit. After that, I’d say it’s getting really close.”

Stamkos, who hasn’t played since November due to a knee injury, practiced today with his teammates. He took line rushes and even worked with the second-unit power play.

“Today was probably the best day yet,” the captain said. “Doing better than last time we talked and really feeling better each day now.”

Tampa Bay’s next game after Thursday’s is Saturday against Montreal.

The Lightning are three points back of Boston for the second wild-card spot in the East, but they do hold a game in hand on the Bruins.

A challenging offseason awaits Dean Lombardi

Getty
4 Comments

For the 23rd time this season — the most in the NHL — the Los Angeles Kings lost a game in regulation after they outshot an opponent.

It happened last night in Edmonton, where the Kings outshot the Oilers, 35-29, but lost on the scoreboard, 2-1.

Afterwards, captain Anze Kopitar could only express his frustration.

“It seems like we’re beating the dead horse every night,” Kopitar said, per LA Kings Insider. “We outshoot teams, we out-chance teams yet we’re on the other side of the winning part, so bottom line it’s just not good enough. Whether that’s offensively or defensively, we’ve got to be better in both areas.”

It’s mostly offensively. For whatever reason, the Kings have the second-worst shooting percentage (7.6) in the NHL, with only Colorado’s (7.2) being lower.

Perhaps the Kings aren’t getting enough quality shots. Perhaps they don’t have enough quality shooters.

Probably a bit of both.

But it’s something that GM Dean Lombardi will need to address this offseason — assuming he can.

Roster-wise, the big problem for Lombardi is that the Kings have a pair of veteran wingers, Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik, whose contracts look a lot like anchors.

Brown, 32, and Gaborik, 35, have combined for just 21 goals this season. Meanwhile, their combined cap hit is north of $10 million, and there’s plenty of term left on each deal.

Not helping? Both Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson are pending RFAs, and they’re in line for raises.

Oh, and there’s not much in the way of top prospects, either. In the past four drafts, only once have the Kings made a first-round pick. (Adrian Kempe went 29th overall in 2014.)

Eleven points back of the second wild-card spot in the West, the Kings are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. They’re in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames.

Related: Kings give another kid a look, recall AHL All-Star Brodzinski