Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D

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Earlier today, a report surfaced claiming P.K. Subban was seeking $8.5 million annually in arbitration. While that figure would make him the NHL’s highest-paid defenseman, agent Don Meehan said that’s not the goal.

Here’s what Meehan told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 on Wednesday:

Sportsnet: Is it important to you and P.K. that by average annual value, he becomes the highest-paid defenseman in the National Hockey League?

Meehan: Really, we haven’t approached it in that respect. That’s not something that he’s instructed us to attend to. When you get down to an arbitration process, it really becomes in many respects a statistical analysis, and it can be different from a negotiation you’re having with a club. They’re really two different venues.

But he’s a remarkable player, and he has a remarkable presence in Montreal. I think Montreal acknowledges that, and I think we’re all trying to do our best to see if we can come up with something that makes sense from both sides’ points of view.

Currently, the NHL’s highest-paid blueliner in terms of average annual value is Nashville’s Shea Weber, who pulls in $7.8 million annually. He’s trailed by Ryan Suter ($7.5M), Kris Letang ($7.2M), Brian Campbell ($7.1M), Drew Doughty and Dion Phaneuf ($7M each).

So, as you can see, Subban would be the first to eclipse the $8M barrier — an important figure, given there’s already pretty select company in the $7-plus million group.

As for the state of negotiations… Meehan did say he felt there was plenty of time for Subban and the Habs to reach an agreement prior to Friday’s arbitration hearing, noting that 21 of this summer’s 23 scheduled cases were sewn up prior to. (Meehan added the two sides were likely to meet on Thursday.)

It’s also worth noting the 25-year-old defenseman has said he wants to be a “lifer” in Montreal, and GM Marc Bergevin did clear up some cap space this summer by trading Josh Gorges — and his $3.9M cap hit through 2018 — to Buffalo, without bringing back any salary in exchange.

Isles sign Northeastern captain Stevens

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John Stevens, who just wrapped a four-year career at Northeastern University, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Islanders, the club announced on Monday.

Stevens, 22, went undrafted but emerged as a valuable player for the Huskies, culminating with a senior season in which he served as captain and averaged better than a point per game (28 in 25 contests).

Stevens is the son of longtime L.A. Kings associate coach John Stevens, who formerly served as the bench boss in Philly.

A third member 0f the Stevens clan, Nolan, also played this season at Northeastern — his junior campaign — and was taken by St. Louis in the fifth round of last year’s draft.

McElhinney to start for Leafs tomorrow

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Curtis McElhinney will start in goal for the Maple Leafs when they host Florida tomorrow.

Which means Toronto’s regular starter, Frederik Andersen, will not.

Andersen, hurt Saturday in Buffalo, only lasted 20 minutes of practice this morning. The Toronto Star, citing a Leafs source, is reporting that Andersen “took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres.”

McElhinney is 4-5-0 with a .919 save percentage in 10 appearances for the Leafs this season. He told reporters that tomorrow will be the biggest start of his NHL career.

It remains to be seen who will back up McElhinney against the Panthers. The Leafs have recalled goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL on an emergency basis. All three netminders were on the ice today.

Update:

Expect Sparks to be the back-up tomorrow.

Toronto has a three-point playoff cushion, with eight games remaining.

The Leafs also recalled forward Kasperi Kapanen, the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014. Kapanen, 20, has 18 goals and 25 assists in 43 games for the Marlies this season. He’s expected to replace Ben Smith on the fourth line, alongside Brian Boyle and Matt Martin.

Habs sign d-man Mete, who ‘does everything’ for junior team

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Victor Mete, Montreal’s fourth-round pick at last year’s draft, has signed his three-year, entry-level deal, the club announced on Monday.

Mete, 18, is in his third year with OHL powerhouse London, and finished this season with 15 goals and 44 points in 50 games. He’s developed a reputation as a terrific skater, and often plays alongside fellow Knights d-man Olli Juolevi, who the Canucks took fifth overall at last year’s draft.

London assistant coach Dylan Hunter had high praise for Mete this season.

“When it comes to little nuances of his game, stick on puck, knowing when to make a play and when there isn’t a play to just get it out, he’s one of the best there is right now,” Hunter said, per the London Free Press.

“He does everything for us.”

Mete has one year of junior eligibility remaining, so it’s likely he’ll be back in London next season. At 5-foot-10 and just 180 pounds, he’s undersized and could use another year of development before turning pro.

 

After ‘great’ senior year, Pens sign Union standout Taylor

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Pittsburgh wasted little time in getting Jeff Taylor in the mix.

Taylor, the Union College senior defenseman who had his collegiate career end over the weekend, signed a two-year, entry-level deal on Monday, and also inked an ATO to join the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Taylor, the club’s seventh-round pick in 2014, enjoyed a career year at Union, helping the Dutchmen advance to the NCAA Tournament by setting career highs in goals (9) and points (33) in 38 games.

Back in December, Pens assistant GM Bill Guerin spoke glowingly about Taylor’s last collegiate campaign, saying he was in the midst of a “great” senior season.

“This is a kid we’ve been looking forward to getting since we drafted him,” Guerin said, per the Post-Gazette. “I remember his first development camp, everybody was like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this kid. He can move the puck, he can skate, he’s quick. He thinks the game well.’ And it hasn’t stopped.

“He’s an undersized guy, but he has the ability to get himself out of trouble because he’s got great feet and he thinks the game well.”