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Montreal Canadiens: The Impending P.K. Subban Dilemma

MONTREAL, CANADA - APRIL 26:  P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens skates around during a TV timeout in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 26, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images
Jason HitelmanCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2011

P.K. Subban is, without question, one of the most exciting emerging talents in the NHL. Even though Mike Richards may not like his attitude and Tim Thomas thinks he may dive, either of those players would welcome him as a teammate and fans would love to see the 22-year-old defenseman play for their team.

Something has been a tad unsettling to me, though.

I've watched young defensemen get monstrous contracts this offseason, culminating with Shea Weber's record-breaking one year, $7.5 million deal awarded through arbitration.

James Wisniewski received a six-year deal from the Columbus Blue Jackets worth $33 million as a 27-year-old—his first contract as an unrestricted free agent.

At 24 years old, Keith Yandle inked a five-year, $26.25 million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. He was a restricted free agent but the contract takes him into his unrestricted years.

Drew Doughty is awaiting his bounty. Many are saying that he'll sign a multi-year deal worth in between $6 and $7 per season. He is only 21 years old.

That's the one that worries me the most as far as P.K. Subban's future contract with the Montreal Canadiens goes.

After one season played, I'm not comparing Subban to Doughty. Drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Kings, Doughty has not disappointed. He came to the NHL as an 18-year-old and in his second season, was nominated for the Norris Trophy. He was an integral part of Team Canada's Olympic Gold medal team as the youngest player on the roster.

Drew Doughty is a stud.

P.K. Subban just completed his first NHL campaign. He scored 14 goals and chipped in with 24 assists. He is a physical presence on the ice and he skates brilliantly.

His speed enables him to take chances. Sometimes he makes mistakes, but he has the ability to get back and remedy them. Though it may have taken him some time to properly adapt to the NHL, he is there and he's only getting better.

So what if Subban puts up a Norris-type year in his second full year on the Habs?

Obviously, it's a big "if." The Buffalo Sabres' Tyler Myers felt the pressure after he scored 48 points and won the Calder Trophy as a rookie. Obviously, he could have done much worse than put up 37 points, but the hockey world was expecting more.

With the market value for puck-moving defensemen very high, I'm left worrying about what kind of huge contract P.K. should be offered if he continues to excel. Even if he puts up the same numbers as he did last season and plays the same kind of defense, he would be due for a hefty raise (he currently is making $875,000 per year on his entry-level contract).

Though he wouldn't be arbitration eligible, Pierre Gauthier would certainly want to keep him happy. You would think that he would like to sign him to the longest term deal possible for fear that he may continue to improve, and his value would continue to rise.

I suppose this may be a good problem to have, but I'm still concerned about the ability of locking impending UFAs—most notably Josh Gorges—to contracts.


Follow Jason on Twitter:
@jhytel

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