6 Reasons the Montreal Canadiens Need to Sign PK Subban Now
He is an eye-catching player who makes fans hold their breath. When he winds up in his own zone with the puck, there is a chance he is going to make a spectacular coast-to-coast rush and bring the fans to their feet.
He is a maddening player who is just as likely—perhaps more so—to flop on the ice like a wounded animal in the hope that he can draw a penalty call on his opponent.
Subban has a big shot from the point and has scored one of the biggest goals in recent Canadiens' memory.
He has an electric smile and a noteworthy personality.
He also has been called out by players around the league for not having enough respect for the game and veteran players.
Subban, 23, is not a finished product by any stretch.
Subban had an entry-level contract that paid him $875,000 for each of the last three years. As the season starts, he is a holdout and a restricted free agent.
The Canadiens need to get Subban's signature on a new contract right way.
Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette suggested a two-year deal for $5 million would seem to be in order for Subban, and that appears to be a reasonable solution to the impasse.
One of the reasons that the Canadiens need P.K. Subban back in the lineup is because of the offense he can provide with his booming slap shot.
When he is manning his favorite spot at the left point, Subban can wind up and fire his rocket. The shot is often well-placed and causes havoc for the defense.
He is a top power play weapon who instinctively knows how to move into the right spot to make a play that will result in an excellent scoring opportunity.
Subban has scored 14 power-play goals in the past two seasons.
Neutral Zone Consistency
Subban is seen as something of a gambler and a risk-taker.
However, that assessment may not be accurate. According to independent scout Christopher Boucher, Subban is quite dependable in the neutral zone.
Boucher says that Subban had a neutral zone rating of 4.11 a year ago, meaning he made 4.11 good plays in the neutral zone for every bad play he made.
That was the best of any Canadiens defenseman by a significant margin.
Size and Strength
Subban is not the most consistent physical player in the league, but he has demonstrated the ability to use his body to assert himself and send the message that he knows how to hit (see video above).
At 6'0" and 206 pounds, Subban has the strength to punish opponents with a solid body check.
He has done this on many occasions and if he can become consistent in this area, Subban's overall play will improve substantially.
Defensive Zone Play
Critics may think of Subban as a one-way player who is primarily interested in the offensive part of the game.
However, independent scout Christopher Boucher said that Subban makes 2.37 positive plays in the defensive zone for every mistake he makes. He is especially effective at passing the puck out of his own zone. He was successful on 76 percent of the passes he made from the defensive zone.
Boucher also claimed that Subban was successful at clearing the puck from the defensive zone on 75 percent of his attempts; the best margin by far among any of the Canadiens.
It's one thing to have skills like speed, puck-carrying ability and a big shot, it's quite another to deliver in the clutch.
Subban is a proven clutch scorer.
Though the Canadiens were a last-place team in 2011-12, they were a playoff team that pushed the Boston Bruins to the seventh game of their opening round series in 2010-11.
In that seventh game, the Canadiens trailed 3-2 late in the third period when Boston took a penalty and the Canadiens went on the power play.
With the Bruins fans roaring as they believed their team was about to oust their rivals, Subban unleashed a booming shot from the point that went past Tim Thomas' glove hand and ripped into the top of the net.
The score was tied and the game went into overtime.
While the Bruins would win in the extra session and eventually capture the Stanley Cup, Subban came through in the clutch and gave his team a chance to win.
With Subban and the Canadiens in a contract dispute, the Canadiens have to put out another defenseman to take his place.
At the start of the season, that looks like Tomas Kaberle.
At one point in his career, Kaberle was a good offensive defenseman with excellent skills. However, at the age of 34, Kaberle appears to have little left in the tank.
He is a butter-soft player who cannot handle contact. He lacks aggressiveness in every area, and while he has some skills with the puck on his stick, he seems to lack the ability and motivation to help his team win.
The Canadiens are not going to survive for very long if Kaberle has to play in Subban's place.