Subban awaits word from agent as contract rumours heat up

Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban waits for a call from his agent as his team’s training camp nears.
Greg Fiume, Getty Images Sports

As far as P.K. Subban knows, there is no contract yet awaiting his signature.

The Canadiens restricted free-agent defenceman spoke from his Toronto condo Friday afternoon, having just received an acupuncture treatment as he continues to get ready for the Habs training camp he hopes he’ll be a part of.

Rumours were blazing in Montreal on Friday, Rod Francis of TSN Radio 690 reporting that he had information from an inside source saying that the Canadiens on Saturday would announce a four-year, $22-million contract with the popular defenceman.

Dave Stubbs of The Gazette spoke with Subban twice as the player was getting an acupuncture treatment in his Toronto condo. While much of their conversation was off the record, for background, Subban did say that he’s been told by his agent, Don Meehan, that talks with the Canadiens continue.

Habs general manager Marc Bergevin and Meehan are in contact, and Subban was told by Meehan that “I’d be kept in the loop for the next 24-48 hours” about the talks and that when something concrete was in hand that needed Subban’s direct attention, he’d be so informed.

Subban told Stubbs there’s nothing strange about his not knowing every detail of every communication between his agent and the Canadiens, saying the content of earlier discussions have been shared with him when it was important to do so.

Unless Subban has a contract, he will not be in Brossard Saturday morning for the start of training camp; it begins with medicals and fitness tests early in the morning. There is optional ice available to players for two hours beginning at noon, with full sessions beginning Sunday at 9 a.m.

The Canadiens cannot, in fact, sign a player until the CBA is formally ratified by the NHLPA, the owners having already done so. But there’s nothing to prevent the Canadiens and Meehan from negotiating a contract for Subban and having it ready for the moment, expected Saturday, when the CBA is official.


  1. rhino514 says:

    Subban packed on 20 pounds in the off season by eating steak with every meal and having an old school gym rat train him. He didn´t focus his training on hockey-specific strength movements.
    It could mean nothing. He may not lose a step. But I am not completely comfortable with this approach. And maybe habs management see a bit of a red flag.
    I woulddn´t offer more than two or three years. Let´s see how he matures.

  2. Ron says:

    Bulldogs and Rochester tied in 1st period 1-1, DeSantis has the goal.
    EDIT; 2-1 Rochester 1st per

  3. Mondou6 says:

    Can anyone answer a few basic language questions for me?

    1) The Gazette seems to be the main newspaper in Montreal, and yet it is English. How does that happen? And how is it legal under the French language rules?

    2) What is the main Francophone outlet for printed news? Is there a blog similar to HIO, but in French?

    3) Do most posters here on HIO speak both English and French?

    Thanks in advance for educating me!

    Disclaimer: I’m not on one side or the other in the language wars. English is my native language, but I speak French too (poorly).

    • shiram says:

      I’m thinking one of ‘La Presse’ or ‘le journal de Montréal’ might be bigger than the Gazette.
      I don’t know about french blogs, mostly RDS?
      And yeah I am bilingual.

    • Steven says:

      1) I don’t know much about rules and laws, but there’s a main English and French newspaper. It just so happens that the English one sells more, I guess. If the newspaper were illegal because of language, it would be a pretty backwards society.

      2) La Presse. I don’t believe they have a site similar to HIO, though. The closest you’d get to that is the French side of the official Habs blog..

      3) I speak both, but it depends where you live. Most of the members that are established in Montreal or Quebec likely speak both. It isn’t so certain for those that aren’t.

  4. habstrinifan says:

    Tough to take the HIO environment today?

    Well here’s a hockey picture to make you smile!

  5. twilighthours says:

    Being a Habs fan is tough, sometimes.

    Besides the fact that the team is horrible, we’ve got people who actually want to trade the best non-goalie Montreal has had in 2 decades because they think he doesn’t get on well in the room.

    And we’ve also got people who are angry at the leading goal scorer because he had an opinion a few weeks ago. These people are also angry at the leading goal scorer because he might retire to be with his family.

    It might be easier if we just watch the 60 minutes of hockey and not stress about the rest of these things. They are not worth any emotional investment. That’s my outlook, anyway.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      It is the minority though. I have to keep repeating that as like you, I get frustrated by some comments as well. PK is one of the few players on our roster who can make you jump out of your seat.
      As far as the leading goal scorer goes, he needs a PR coach.

      • twilighthours says:

        Why would or should Cole care about PR? It’s his job to put the puck in the net – nothing more, nothing less.

        The rest – we are on the same page.

        • Habfan10912 says:

          I like to like the players that I think are likable. Also, I am guilty of being a fickle fan too. 🙂


          • db says:

            I like that he has an opinion and is willing to share it instead of being a robot. I don’t agree with him but I can respect him for that. He’s generally good for a quote..

    • ooder says:

      And for some reason there is a lot of pressure for the francophonization of the habs thus limiting the talent pool of coaches and gms

      The 2010-11 Stanley Cup was not won, but given

    • New says:

      Yeah, with the months of lockout chatter you forget that HIO generally disses players, coaches, and media. Then it all starts again and the enthusiasm wanes, the snarky comments start, and you wonder if it is even worth the bother of visiting. People seem to want players to confine themselves to trite phrases (We have to give 100% and come out ready to play) and not show up to practice tired, sore, or hung over. Just wait till they lose the first game.

    • commandant says:

      you nailed it twilight.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • B says:

      Perhaps some folks are just disappointed that Cole is talking about quitting before his contract is up? He had a great career season and was a key part of the Habs last season.

      It’s not like the guy is injured or anything like that, it just seems mainly he’s p*ssed off that most players don’t appear to be as hard line about the new CBA as he is and they seem about to ratify it. Many spewed rhetoric during the negotiation process, but for most it was posturing for a better deal and they are now ready to move on.

      I wonder how the fans would feel if a majority of players felt like Cole talks and they decided to reject instead of ratifying the new CBA? You may be cool with that (or maybe not, hard to tell), but I don’t think it would go over very well with most fans.

      –Go Habs Go!–

  6. Dude of Dudes says:

    You’re not worth the money, PK. Your team’s not that into you; you bring the spirit in the room down. BERGEVIN!!!

  7. christophor says:

    I think people here really underestimate Subban’s worth, even though most here like and defend him.

    With a 4 year term, the idea of Subban signing for under 4 million per year is way off. Less than 3? Not a chance. (I agree that a four year term is crazy.)

    • Ron says:

      Read my post below for update

      • christophor says:

        irrelevant to my point. i’m talking about valuing subban and the rumour brought out discussion on that topic.

        • Ron says:

          How is it irrelevant when the 4 year deal has been deemed false ?

          • christophor says:

            Person X says that on a 4-year deal, Subban should get 3-4 million.

            I say this shows person X undervalues Subban.

            Whether Subban actually gets a 4-year deal is irrelevant to the claim that X undervalues Subban.

            If you really want, we can talk hypothetically about a 2-year or 7-year deal. The rumour of a 4-year deal, false or not, brought out people’s reactions, which showed, I think, that Subban is undervalued.

            That’s the point.

          • Ron says:

            Fair enough. The contract should be ready by tomorrow or Sunday and this will all start all over again. Why not just wait for the real deal and then argue.

          • christophor says:

            Again, we don’t need to wait for a deal to argue about Subban’s value. My opinion, for instance, will probably be the same after a deal is struck.

  8. Price07 says:

    I don’t know why writers would ask Subban or his agent if the rumor is true. Whether its true or not they’re going to say no!! DUHHH zero value added by such questions

  9. Ron says:

    Stubbs: nothing could be further from the truth of the 4 yr 22m contract and I capilalize all of that Don Meehan
    EDIT: Dave to do an update to the thread shortly

  10. jols101 says:

    If the rumor is true, Subban’s 5.5 million cap hit will bring the Habs payroll to 68.9 million. That includes 14 forwards, 8 Dmen and 2 goalies.

    Habs will only have 1.3 million left in cap space so odds are no matter how good Galchenyuk plays he will be going back to Sarnia because of his 3.3 million cap hit. Bergevin would have to trade someone if they felt Galchenuk was ready or back to Sarnia he goes.

  11. habsfaninboston says:

    So if PK and Habs can’t come to terms, is he free to sign with any team and if so, do Habs get a shot to match any offer?

    • TomNickle says:

      offer sheet time. And if none there will be a deadline for rfa’s to sign before they have to sit out the season. I don’t know what that date is with the shortened season.

  12. Phil C says:

    Acupuncture treatment? That’s usually pain management. I hope PK’s back is not still bad. I really don’t want to think about this season if he can’t play.

  13. HabinBurlington says:

    Firstly, I will choose to appreciate Erik Cole’s candour and honesty. The guy clearly is a Pro Player guy who believed in his PA. I will give him time to think about this before thinking poorly of his potential decision.

    I respect how passionate he is about everything appears, perhaps why he recovered from that terrible injury, came back before he was supposed to and helped Hurricanes win a Cup.

    As for PK rumour, seems a bit high to me.

    • Phil C says:

      Good point about Cole, especially on the Cup run with Carolina. I thought he was one of the few players to run through the finish line last year, playing hard every night until the end.

      • neumann103 says:

        In the locker room interview at the end of the season you could just see the shock and revulsion he clearly felt at the way it ended. It was almost as though he kept playing 100%, ignoring the fact that the season was hopeless and really only stopped to consider how bad things were after it ended.

        When Cole was signed, I thought he was exactly what the Habs needed. They had to pay a bit too much for a bit too long but that was what it took to sign the best and most appropriate available Free Agent to fill the gaping hole for a top 6 scoring forward with character. He somewhat exceeded my expectations.

        And people want to throw him overboard for expressing an opinion?


        “Et le but!”


    Sign him to seven! Seven is the only number you need!

    God Bless!

  15. Ozmodiar says:

    Erik Cole – “I just want to spend more time with the family. You just can’t put a dollar value on that.” [heads over to the PA office to see if escrow value is greater than dollar value placed on family time]


      I really liked eric cole’s strong stance and opinions during the Gary Bettman and owners caused lockout. But what is he so angry about? the new cba? and what exactly about it? I hope he wasnt planning on retiring and still getting paid his contract. seems like a dirty move by players, glad they fixed that. I just hope Eric cole heart is in the right place this season! get over it , its time for hockey!

      • commandant says:

        You never could “retire and be paid your contract”. At no time, during any CBA the players have ever signed since the first days of the NHLPA was this possible.

        This isn’t something the players have ever asked for nor something they could get.

        The only thing that happened was if a player was over 35 when he signed his deal, and he retired, his cap hit remained (but the player himself never got paid).

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

  16. Sportfan says:

    I really think him signing a two year deal like Price did is probably the best way to go, but what do I know all of these guys make way to much. I forget what ex-hab said that back them no one knew what people were making and that was just fine because it was less of a distraction.

    • TomNickle says:

      1-2 – okay
      5-7 – okay
      3 or 4 – terrible idea

      • donmarco says:

        Maybe there’s something I’m not getting here, but to me 4 years makes sense. If, and it’s a big if, he flames out there will definitely be teams out there willing to take on the value of the contract thinking they can make something out of him. Second, if he turns out to be the player I think, and hope, he will be the last 2 years will be a bargain, and then he’ll be in a position to be signed to a max contract at top dollar. I think he’s the real deal, and I’m fine with a 4 year term, but I’d love to know why everyone else seems to despise it.

        • HabFab says:

          He would be an UFA.

          • Rugger says:

            If Gainey were still GM (or his clone PG), I’d be concerned, however I think MB might actually start negotiating a new deal long before the soon to be signed one is over. My guess is November of the final year an new long term deal is signed.

          • TomNickle says:

            Gainey would have handed Subban whatever he wanted. The Subban draft choice had more Gainey on it than Timmins by the way.

        • TomNickle says:

          Because 4 years doesn’t maximize his value during UFA years. And if you’re giving him over $5 million annually you’re committing more dollars than necessary to a player and getting a low amount of commitment in return.

          Funny thing about the NHL is that if Subban does have a couple of bad seasons, or even one and you think you can’t fix him, there will be a willing trade partner who think they can.

          There certainly is risk by signing him to a seven year deal, but there’s more risk in signing him to a four year deal. The risk being that as things stand he’s a core player, your best defenseman and headed toward steady improvement as he’s shown so far.

          If you’re going to give him big dollars, you need a lot of years in return so that he doesn’t walk. Giving him four or three years instead of six or seven has a high potential for taking incredibly productive years of service off of the table and it also sets you up for a bidding war for his services which hurts your team financially down the road.

          Edit: They gave Gorges and Price six year deals so that in 3 or 4 years their pricetag was the same instead of 20-40% more than the aav of the current deals. See the logic?

  17. 24 Cups says:

    In terms of Erik Cole, does anybody think he will walk away from 9M, even if it is lessened by escrow?

    By the end of this season, Cole will have accumulated $29M in NHL salary. The only player I can think of (in recent memory) who walked away from a signed contract was Brian Rafalski. He retired because he had enough of hockey and the way the game was being played. He left 6M on the table with the Wings.

    In other news, Scott Niedermayer has decided to join Anaheim as an assistant coach. They might want to change that to assistant playing coach the way Doug Harvey did with the Rangers back in the day.

  18. commandant says:

    The 4 years at big money offer never made sense.

    Its either 6 or more at big money (buying UFA years) or less years at less money (so it expires while he’s still RFA).

    Taking him right to UFA age, but not a day longer, and paying 5.5 million to do so, would be a bad deal.

    These rumor guys never think logically when they throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

    • TomNickle says:

      Let’s wait and see. Bergevin hasn’t exactly made the shrewdest of moves so far.

      As I’ve mentioned a couple of times. 4 years at anything over $3 million is suicide. And if the aav is under $3 million I’ll need to change my pants in a hurry.

      • Ozmodiar says:

        The contract will be over $3M AAV, regardless of term. Your pants are safe.

      • commandant says:

        I’d be fine at 4 years 4.26 million (ie more than kaberle)… but I wouldn’t go above that.

        At 5 million, I want to buy UFA years.

        Go Habs Go!
        Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports

      • neumann103 says:

        The Lars Eller deal looks pretty darn good. Pacioretty too.

        I agree however that we lack a lot of evidence on exactly how shrewd Bergevin is. I like most of his moves including overpaying for Prust but the Therrien hire gives pause.

        My suspicion is that Bergevin will prove to be shrewd, the moves he will make starting the summer will position the team well for the window of the second half of the decade where the existing prospects project, and that Therrien was a short term, defensive hire with NHL experience who will be jettisoned as soon as his performance warrants or a compelling francophone alternative emerges.

        And yes 4 years for PK makes absolutely no sense unless it is extra cheap, and why would PK sign that? A 2 year bridging deal or a 6+ year buyout of UFA years makes most sense.

        “Et le but!”

    • Ozmodiar says:

      I agree. > 5M with no UFA years seems high.

      (Erik Cole must be jealous)

      Having said that… this contract wouldn’t surprise me.

  19. 24 Cups says:

    Bergevin’s first big test coming up.

    • TomNickle says:

      I would argue that his first coaching hire was the first big test, with the jury still out but slightly prejudicial based on his choice.

      Regarding this contract, if the reported four years is accurate Bergevin has failed in my opinion. I would be willing to change that tune if the four years is at something less than $3 million, but I’d be shocked if that were the case.

      1-2 years is okay, as is 5-7. Any other number in terms of term is a bad deal for the Habs unless the AAV is VERY low.

      • 24 Cups says:

        I was going to go with the coaching hire as first and Subban second but then I decided to work on the daily theme of being ‘first’ on each new thread. It appears to be a bit of a badge of honour here on HI/O:-)

        Choosing a coach was important, obviously, but not a real deal breaker. The team is in limbo or at best transition so I’m not getting uptight about Therrien. The choices were quite limited. As long as Therrien doesn’t screw up the development of the young players I’m quite happy to see it through.

        Subban? Two years at 4M a season is fine by me. I think I made a pretty good case for that type of contract last night a few threads ago.

        24 Cups

        January 10, 2013 at 9:22 pm(Edit)

        I love Subban. He’s the number two man on the Habs behind Price. Not right this second, but he will be. A building block in the making. It was a tough gig having to step in for Markov right out of the gate – two years running to boot. He’s a bit too big for his skates right now and pisses people off. That can be a good and bad thing as I worry a bit about the headhunters, especially the assholes in Boston and Philly. I also worry that Subban’s skating style can make his susceptible to open ice hits, whether they be clean or dirty.

        PK, take the two year deal, refine your craft, learn that sometimes less can be more (both on the ice and verbally) and get prepared to truly shine as the fans of Montreal get ready to embrace you for your actions, not your words or promise. Greatness awaits you if you just trust the pathway that is before you.

        • TomNickle says:

          And what if Bergevin begins making personnel decisions based on Therrien’s personality and coaching style?

          MY BIGGEST FEAR.

          • HabsWinn-ipeg says:

            I wasn’t overly enthused with the choice of Therrien, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with any of the names being discussed for coach. What I do like about Therrien is a seeming ability to get things going for a team in the short term. I don’t think he is a long term answer to coach – but he does know what to expect in Montreal, and if he can get the team moving in the right direction that’s a plus. As for longevity, who knows? Maybe he is a different coach than he was. Of course, Gomez says things will be different every year as well…

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