The Montreal Canadiens have been unable to sign restricted free agent defenseman P.K. Subban since the lockout ended, and according to Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette, there isn't any new information on the contract negotiations.
Maybe @pksubban1's agent Don Meehan is being charged by the letter in his text messages. Anything to report, Don? "No"— Dave Stubbs (@Dave_Stubbs) January 21, 2013
Subban is likely looking for a contract with a salary of at least $5 million, which would be quite a raise from the $875,000 salary (excluding bonuses) he has earned in each of the last three seasons.
Is an offer sheet from another team the only way for Subban to earn the salary he wants in his next contract?
If the Canadiens refuse to give in and meet his price, it may be the only option.
Let's look at four teams that would be wise to extend an offer sheet to Subban and see if the 23-year-old defenseman would be willing to leave the Canadiens, even if that seems unlikely since he enjoys Montreal.
Detroit Red Wings
Watching his defense struggle against the St. Louis Blues on opening night must have been a painful experience for Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who has been unable to find suitable replacements for defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart after they left the team in the offseason.
Detroit gave up six goals to a Blues team that finished 21st in the league in scoring last year, and even though Jimmy Howard is a very talented goaltender, he cannot keep the Red Wings in games when his defense is unable to prevent opposing teams from having a high number of quality scoring chances.
At the moment, the Red Wings have about $19 million in salary-cap space for next year even though the cap will go down to $64.3 million for the 2013-14 season.
Holland would be smart to use a chunk of that cap space on a No. 1 defenseman, which makes Subban an ideal player to address the team's defensive weaknesses.
This year's free-agent class of defensemen isn't very deep, so an offer sheet or a trade would be his best options to acquire a top blueliner.
The Red Wings should give Subban a five-year offer sheet worth anywhere from $5.5-6 million per season. With a player of Subban's caliber added to the blue line, Detroit could contend in the Western Conference this year.
There was no way that the Flyers would fail to make this list. They tried to acquire Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber with a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet in the summer, but were unable to land the superstar defenseman when Nashville matched it.
Philadelphia is 0-2 and has allowed eight goals (two empty-nets) to start the season. The team's defensemen have been turning the puck over too often and have taken a lot of penalties. The Flyers have also gotten just two assists and no goals from their blue line thus far.
Head coach Peter Laviolette needs an offensive defenseman like Subban who can strengthen the team's power play and add some speed and athleticism to the lineup.
The Flyers are 1-9 on the power play this season and don't have a playmaker on the blue line of Subban's caliber to create scoring chances with the man advantage.
This season could be a disaster for Philadelphia if general manager Paul Holmgren doesn't make a move for a top-four defenseman before the April 3 trade deadline.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Canadiens would be under a lot of pressure from their fans to match any possible offer sheet submitted by the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs do have a need for a top-four defenseman and have plenty of salary-cap room to use if they choose to extend an offer sheet to the 23-year-old star.
Since Brian Burke is no longer the general manager of the Leafs, there's no reason for his replacement Dave Nonis to keep shying away from using an offer sheet to improve the roster.
Burke was opposed to using offer sheets during his time as the general manager of the Anaheim Ducks and Leafs, but for Toronto to build a championship-caliber roster, it needs to use all the options available to strengthen the team.
Toronto should extend an offer sheet to Subban worth $6 million per season, and there would be no bad outcome for the Leafs regardless of what the Canadiens would decide to do with it.
Either the Leafs upgrade their blue line in a major way and hurt their rival by acquiring Subban, or the Canadiens are forced to pay him more than they have been willing to thus far.
Even if Nonis doesn't think he would be able to successfully sign Subban via an offer sheet, he should extend one to the young defenseman anyway.
The Oilers have about $21 million in salary-cap space for the 2013-14 season with five defensemen eligible for free agency (four UFAs and one RFA).
None of the defensemen with expiring contracts are young stars or legitimate top-pairing players, so spending big money on Subban would be a smart move.
Edmonton played pretty well on Sunday in its shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks to start the season, but the team still has a huge need for a top-four defenseman.
Jeff Petry led the Oilers blue line in scoring with 25 points last season, and for this team to contend in the Western Conference now and in the near future, general manager Steve Tambellini has to acquire a star defenseman who can score 40-55 points every season and play a solid two-way game. Subban can address this need.
Acquiring Subban would probably make it difficult for the Oilers to re-sign young center Sam Gagner to a new long-term contract in the summer, but the No. 1 goal for Tambellini in the offseason must be to bolster the talent and depth on the team's blue line.