Here’s something you probably didn’t expect to read today: the Montreal Canadiens have reportedly checked to see what the return would be if they were to trade P.K. Subban. And before you look, no, it isn’t April 1.
TVA Sports’ Louis Jean reported Friday that “one executive” has said Subban’s name came up in the trade market. Jean continued to say that while that doesn’t mean Montreal would trade their star defenseman, the Canadiens are reportedly “gauging the market” if they were to deal Subban.
Let that sink in for a second and then take a deep breath because it’s not likely Subban is going anywhere.
There are hundreds of ways Subban’s name could have popped up in discussion and there’s a much greater chance this is nothing at all than the beginnings of a deal involving Subban. The timing of the rumors shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, either. Subban came under fire from coach Michel Therrien post-game Wednesday for a late-game turnover that lead to the Colorado Avalanche scoring the game-winning goal. However, Therrien told NHL.com's Arpon Basu Friday that Subban is "an intelligent guy" and would "learn from his mistakes."
TSN’s Bob McKenzie told TSN 1260 Friday that his sense is that Subban isn’t actually on the market. Per the Edmonton Journal, McKenzie added: “The problem you run into…is that it’s so hard to characterize when a name comes up, well, who brought it up? And then you get into somebody being shopped, the terminology we deal with, and then teams freak out.”
McKenzie added he believes a Subban trade occurring “is more in the doubtful category.”
Subban, 26, is one of the biggest stars in the game and his larger-than-life personality paired with his charitable efforts makes him an owner’s dream. It seems hard to imagine a Subban trade ever getting approval for that reason alone. But add to it Subban’s on-ice ability and there doesn’t seem to be any conceivable reason for the Canadiens to trade the defender.
In 58 games this season, Subban has five goals and 44 points, leads the Canadiens in scoring and averages nearly 3.5 minutes more ice time per game than any other player. That’s not to mention he was probably on the short list for the captaincy. Along with Carey Price, Subban is the face of the franchise, and if the Canadiens are going to get out of the mess that has happened this season, it’s going to be on Subban’s back. Take it from Subban himself.
"I think I'm part of the answer, not the problem,” Subban told Basu Friday morning.
And he is. There’s no evidence to suggest otherwise. He’s an all-star defenseman — of the end-of-year type, not in the mid-season showcase sense — with game-changing talent. To trade Subban, especially when he has some of his best years ahead of him, would be unfathomable. That’s not to mention Subban is in the second season of an eight-year, $72-million contract that pays him an average of $9 million annually. That’s not a cap hit many teams could handle or find room for.
One thing that is of note, though, is that Subban’s contract carries a no-movement clause. That said, the clause doesn’t kick in until July 1, 2016. If the Canadiens were actually considering moving Subban, they have little more than four months to do so without needing Subban to waive the clause. That would potentially be the only reason for the Canadiens to shop Subban now.
Even still, it seems incredibly unlikely Subban is moved, even if his name is out there. The Canadiens need all the help they can get right now, and Subban gives them a chance to win on any given night.