Either that, or they just really like Subban. (Probably both.) On Saturday, the team got in just under the wire, beating the arbitrator's ruling and announcing an eight-year, $72 million contract.
“We are very pleased to have reached a long term agreement with P.K. Subban. This agreement helps consolidate the future of our team. A key element of our group of young veterans, P.K. plays with a high level of intensity every time he steps onto the ice. Despite his young age, he carries a great deal of experience and brings contagious energy to the team. Defensemen of his level are a rare commodity in the NHL,” said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Which is why it's so amazing that it took the Canadiens this long to throw all the money and all the term at Subban. I mean, good Lord, could they have cut it any closer? I understand that Marc Bergevin was looking for a way around severely, painfully losing the bridge contract gambit (he didn't find it, safe to say), but even still, it was stunning how long it took for the Canadiens to give Subban the contract everyone was expecting him to get.
Subban's $9 million cap hit situates him just being Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin for 2014-15, although he'll drop to fifth when Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane's fancy new contracts kick in for 2015-16.
Among defenseman, however, the former Norris trophy winner is untouched. No other blueliner makes even $8 million per year right now, although Shea Weber and Ryan Suter's deals pay them $14M and $11M next season, respectively.
Meanwhile, Drew Doughty makes $7 million a year through 2019, because the Kings went straight from the entry-level contract to the compensation he clearly deserved, instead of jerking him around.
Anyway. The Canadians finally got it done, and now Subban is earning a salary commensurate to his standing as one of the league's premier defencemen -- probably enough money that Michel Therrien will look pretty silly if he benches Subban late in close games again next season. (That's your $9 million game-breaker riding the pine in a game that needs breaking, Michel.)
And now we know that Subban wasn't just whispering sweet nothings to Habs fans when he said he wanted to be a Montreal lifer, which is why this deal got done despite the Canadiens doing everything to screw it up.
"Obviously I remain adamant on remaining in Montreal and being a Montreal Canadien, and not just for a long time but hopefully for the rest of my career, and be a lifer there,” Subban told Toronto's Breakfast Television just last week. “I really enjoy playing there.”