With Jamie Benn all locked up down in the Lone Star State, there are only two young restricted free agents remaining without deals. Ryan O’Reilly and P.K. Subban remain without new deals, despite how crucial each of them are to the success of their respective teams.
While we have yet to hear of any sort of dialogue regarding an O’Reilly contract, there has reportedly been talking between Subban and the Montreal Canadiens, though there hasn’t been much moving. In fact, it sounds like the only thing taking place in those negotiations is a whole bunch of low-balling.
The Habs are reportedly only willing to offer Subban a contract of two years and somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million total. No doubt, they’re basing that off of the Michael Del Zotto contract, which was for two years and $5.1 million with the New York Rangers.
We’re not quite sure how the Blueshirts managed to sign a talented young defenseman like Del Zotto for that cheap, as teams likely would have shelled out more, but the Canadiens seem to be awfully pleased with that fact. If they continue to use that contract as a measuring stick, don’t expect Subban back in a Habs sweater any time soon.
In P.K. Subban, you’re talking about a potential franchise defenseman. He really is the total package. He has the talent as a two-way defenseman, he can hit, and he has the personality to be the face of a franchise, which the Habs don’t actually have at the moment. But it seems to be a take-it-or-leave-it situation for Marc Bergevin and co.
If the Habs took a quick look at the Dallas Stars and what they just locked Jamie Benn up for, they might be more likely to reach a deal soon. The Stars signed Benn for five years and just over $26 million. For potential superstar forward, that’s also a bargain. Signing Subban to a deal like that really shouldn’t be an issue.
Now that it’s known what the Habs are offering Subban, it will be interesting to see if other teams will explore a potential offer sheet. Other teams would certainly be willing to throw more than $5 million at Subban. Would the Canadiens match at that point? One would imagine.
Of course, the Habs could avoid the mess of a potential offer sheet if they simply up their offer to Subban. He’s worth that type of money either way, whether it’s in Montreal or not. The Habs could regret not budging in negotiations in the very near future.