The Montreal Canadiens have avoided disaster with defenceman P.K. Subban by signing their star blue liner to an eight year, 72 million dollar contract extension, following an arbitration hearing yesterday.
The deal comes with a cap hit of 9 million dollars per season over the eight year term, giving Subban the highest cap hit of all NHL defenceman for next season.
The arbitration could have led to the player being awarded a one year contract when the arbitrator made his ruling, which would have come Sunday. This would have forced Subban to play next season answering questions about his contract talks, much like he did countless times this past season. Instead of letting this be a distraction all season, with reporters and fans wondering if Subban is going to be dealt or sign a long term extension.
Subban is the Canadiens most valuable player after netminder Carey Price, and the Habs are wise to finally lock him up to an eight year deal. Arbitration can be a negative experience for a player, and the mood of most Habs fans this morning, and yesterday following the hearing was extremely glum as we all expected this extension before the team and player met with a third party.
Subban was forced to sign a short term bridge contract two year ago when he was seeking a long term commitment from the club, and it looked like he would have to accept a one year award for next season. The Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin finally caved and gave Subban a contract he wanted, and deserves as the Canadiens number one defender.
After signing a two year bridge deal in 2012, Subban promptly won a Norris Trophy, led the Canadiens to the playoffs twice, and was the catalyst in a trip to the Eastern Conference Final this spring.
Now he is finally rewarded for it, and Habs fans could not be happier to have their favorite defenceman locked up until he is 33 years old.