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.