Maybe it’s a slow news week. Maybe the talking heads have realized that no one cares about the trade deadline four months out or that the Olympic roster isn’t as complicated as they think.
Whatever the reason is, PK Subban is front and centre in NHL news these days after seeing his playing time dip against the St. Louis Blues in a 3-2 shootout loss.
Now sports talk shows are all abuzz with what it means for Subban’s impending contract talks.
Well, I’m here to settle what it means once and for all.
It means nothing.
Zlich. Zip. Nadda.
It barely even means that bunch of talking heads are running out of things to talk about.
Subban played over 27 minutes in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Sens, good for second in team TOI.
In the five games prior to the match up with the Blues, Subban was either first or second in ice time (in each instance he was second it was by half a shift to Markov).
The defenseman has put up a team high 16 points in 17 games with a +1 rating, plays nearly the entirety of every powerplay (like the one he did with five minutes remaining in the Blues game, a much better reason for the “benching” than contract shenanigans.)
And then there’s the whole one game sample size.
But I digress.
The real insult in this whole contrived “debate” is that at its base is assumes that Montreal Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin is an idiot.
I assure you, he is not.
Beregvin will fire Therrien before he allows the well to be poisoned during the contract year of his prize defenseman.
He knows that Subban is looking at a $7M/yr contract running six or seven years, and while the cap hit hurts, he also knows Subban is worth it.
That’s not to say that Subban doesn’t have some maturing to do. He still needs to work on calming down his game both on and off the ice, and Bergevin (and Therrien for that matter) knows that. Lord knows there will be some “teachable” moments for Subban this season too. We’re talking about a hockey culture that doesn’t measure success in wins or playoff appearances, but Stanley Cups. Everyone, even the league’s reigning best defenseman, will be held to account.
There are lots of things to look at when considering Subban and his contract implications. Meetings between his agent and the team, his point production, his attitude.
But let’s not kid ourselves. One game where Subban’s ice time is slightly down?
That doesn’t mean a thing.