(Audio: You can listen to the conference call with Subban by clicking here)
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced on Saturday afternoon that the club has agreed to terms with defenceman P.K. Subban on a new eight-year contract that will run through the 2021-22 season. The deal is worth $72 million for an average of $9 million per season. It is the biggest contract in franchise history.
“We are very pleased to have reached a long-term agreement with P.K. Subban,” Bergevin said in a statement. “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. Defencemen of his level are a rare commodity in the NHL.”
Subban will earn $7 million in 2014-15 and 2015-16, $11 million in 2016-17 and 2017-18, $10 million in $2018-19 and 2019-20, and $8 million in 2020-21 and 2021-22. You can see the capgeek.com breakdown of the deal by clicking here.
Tweeted Subban after the Canadiens announced the new contract: “Thank you to @canadiensmtl for making a commitment to myself and my family. Im Excited about the future! #letsgetit”
Tweeted Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre: “Congrats PK! very happy and proud that you stay home. Kudos for Marc Bergevin too!”
The deal makes Subban the highest-paid defenceman in the NHL in terms of average salary per season. The Nashville Predators Shea Weber averages $7.8 million on his 14-year, $110 million deal that will pay him $14 million next season.
“Obviously, my family and myself are extremely happy to know that my future is going to continue with the Montreal Canadiens,” Subban said during a 27-minute conference call with reporters on Saturday that started at 6 p.m. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted and that’s exactly what has happened today.”
Subban and the Canadiens went to salary arbitration on Friday in Toronto after the team submitted an offer of $5.25 million for one year and Subban asked for $8.5 million. Arbitrator Elizabeth Neumeier had 48 hours to make her decision, but the Canadiens and Subban were allowed to continue negotiating during that period. They obviously did despite the fact Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, told Sportsnet after the hearing Friday that there were no plans to continue negotiating a long-term deal and Subban said he expected the arbitrator to decide what he would be paid next season.
Subban said Saturday that there were no bitter feelings following the arbitration hearing, saying it was “part of the process” and adding he has a great relationship with team owner Geoff Molson and GM Bergevin. Subban said he found some of the comments he heard and read about Bergevin, Molson and the Canadiens organization during the negotiations were “unsettling for me”.
“A lot of people that know Marc Bergevin know the type of guy he is … he cares about his players … he cares a lot about his players … and I know he cares a lot about me,” Subban said.
Subban added that the contract negotiations were “a healthy, respectful process.”
“It’s been nothing about other than getting a deal that’s comfortable for myself and comfortable for the Montreal Canadiens and we accomplished that today,” he said.
The 25-year-old Subban, who won the Norris Trophy two seasons ago as the NHL’s top defenceman, earned $3.75 million last season when he posted 10-43-53 totals in 82 regular-season games and had 5-9-14 totals in 17 playoff games.
Subban said the new long-term commitment from the Canadiens sent a strong message to him and to others.
“It sends a strong message to me that they want me here and they appreciate everything that I’ve done to this point and they believe in me as a player,” Subban said. “I think I’ve always believed that, but obviously in this process coming out with this result now everybody else understands it and can see it as well and doesn’t have to speculate about how the Montreal Canadiens feel about me.”
He added: “I’m just happy to know that I’m going to be playing under Marc Bergevin and under Geoff Molson for the next eight years. It’s truly flattering, thrilling and it’s an exciting time for me moving forward.”
Subban said the deal wasn’t about “the dollar signs” adding he would have signed a 20-year contract with Montreal if he could.
“I think I’ve been adamant throughout my career … I’ve been consistent in saying Montreal is where I want to play and where I want to be,” Subban said. “Obviously I always wanted to play here and have a long-term contract … I wanted a long-term contract probably before I deserved one. I love everything about Montreal and the city.”
When asked about the possibility of being the Canadiens’ captain or an assistant captain in the future, Subban said: “It would be extremely flattering to be considered for a C or an A, but I think that we have a lot of potential leaders in that dressing room, a lot of guys that can potentially step up into those roles.”
He added: “I’ve always been the type of guy that wants to lead by example on the ice. I feel that any player can talk in the dressing room and try to hold guys accountable that way, not very many can do it on the ice and perform and command their teammates’ respect. Whether I have a letter – a C or an A on my jersey – that’s how I plan to go about my business over the next eight years, by performing on the ice and hopefully pulling my teammates in that sort of direction.”
(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)