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.”