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Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
Here’s one last comparable. Carey Price now makes an average of $6.5 million and will do so for the next six seasons.
Some may argue in reference to my last entry that comparing a goalie to a defenseman is like comparing an apple to a grape (you try finding a fruit common to British Columbia that connotes excessive alcohol consumption and partying, all right?). Bear with me, though:
Both Price and Subban are around 24 years old. Both play for the same team. Both are Montreal’s most valuable players at their respective positions. Both have won the same amount of NHL awards/Stanley Cups.
And, yet, while Bergevin deemed it acceptable to show Price the money, he and Subban are reportedly relatively far apart negotiating the terms of a new deal.
There are several possible arguments as to why this is fair. Price is on his third pro contract and Subban his second. Additionally, they each may be Montreal’s most valuable player at their respective positions, but Price is more valuable overall, etc.
In regard to the first, generally speaking, defensemen develop a lot more slowly relative to other positions (and goalies, exiting their prime, decline a lot more quickly).
As such, the fact that Subban has played as well as he has at a mere 23 years of age speaks volumes as to the kind of player he will be a similar six years down the road. By giving him more money now and signing him to a longer term, which is what he’s reportedly seeking, Montreal will likely come out ahead.
In regard to the latter, yes, there is only one goalie on any one team, and there are six defensemen, meaning, technically, Price is more valuable than Subban. It’s simple math.
So is this: 26 is less than 28, 26 being the number of Price’s victories last year and 28 the number of losses (it’s actually 39, taking into account overtime/shootout losses).
Price has talent. His previous 38-28-6 season is proof positive of this fact. However, there’s little denying that he was given his new, huge contract following what was by and large a mediocre season.
Call Subban’s season disappointing if you must, but it was still pretty decent. And decency, not mediocrity, should be rewarded. Your move, Bergevin.