NHL Rumors: Breaking Down Potential Suitors for Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban
Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban is one of the elite young defensive talents in the NHL today, but his future with the team is anything but certain as he mulls over his options as a restricted free agent, according to The Montreal Gazette's Dave Stubbs.
At age 23, the three-year NHL veteran is one of Montreal's brightest stars and a coveted piece by several other teams around the league. He scored seven goals and tallied 29 assists in 81 games last season.
Although the Canadiens are aiming to hold onto the Toronto native, trading him is certainly an option, considering the lack of progress made between the two sides. TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger reports that Subban and the Canadiens are struggling to reach a deal:
Little or no progress made in PK Subban contract negotiations. Habs firm on 2 year deal, roughly $5 mil total. Offer sheet? Trade? Options.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 26, 2013
With Subban's future still up in the air, here we'll break down some of the top potential suitors for the star defenseman.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit has gotten off to a sluggish start this season, winning just two of its first five games, and surrendering 16 goals over that time.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch revealed the following this past weekend: "If the Habs decide to deal Subban, Detroit, Philadelphia and the Rangers will make a push."
It certainly comes as no surprise that the Red Wings would be interested in acquiring Subban. After all, only Phoenix and Columbus have given up more goals in the Western Conference to start the year.
The Red Wings could use Subban's services to help tighten up their back line and take some pressure off their under-performing offense. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner have endless potential on that end, but if the team could pick up a star like Subban this early in the season, it could elevate its aspirations in 2013.
New York Rangers
Which potential destination would make the most sense for P.K. Subban if he were traded?
The Eastern Conference hopeful New York Rangers have been watching goals pour into their net far too often this season, having allowed 16 through their first five games.
As mentioned already, the Rangers are expected to make a push for Subban if he becomes attainable.
If you ask me, the Big Apple would be the best possible landing spot for the young defenseman. The Rangers are a team sure to be in the mix for the Stanley Cup this season, and desperately need a piece to fix up their woes in front of the net.
New York went deep last postseason and nearly earned a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. With Subban helping shore up the back line, there's no telling how far the Rangers could go in 2013.
Philadelphia has picked up right where it left off in the 2012 NHL Playoffs last spring, giving up goals in bunches. The Flyers are off to a shaky start in 2013 and have let by 18 goals in six games.
Philly ranks 26th in the league in penalty-kill percentage (69 percent) and could really use a player of Subban's caliber on the blue line. As already mentioned, the Flyers are expected to be among the list of teams in pursuit of Subban if he becomes available.
In addition to boasting goal-scoring ability when the opportunity presents itself, Subban is an athletic specimen who would be able to routinely wreak havoc on the defensive end for Philly.
Although at the moment it may seem that the Flyers' lack of goal scoring is their biggest concern, their ability to slow opposing offenses as the season wears on will dictate how far they go in the chase for the Stanley Cup.
The Winnipeg Jets aren't terrible on the defensive end this season, but they could certainly be better, and will need to be if they are to contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
That's where possibly making a move for P.K. Subban comes into play. Consider this from Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch: "But sources insist there is a surprise candidate that could have the assets to acquire Subban -- the Winnipeg Jets. League sources say GM Kevin Cheveldayoff wants to make a splash to get an impact player."
Winnipeg definitely has some proven pieces to offer Montreal for Subban. It's seemingly a matter of the Canadiens being willing to part ways with the supreme talent rather than meet his demands or settle for another option.
The Jets wouldn't be considered the front-runner to win the East with Subban on board, but they would be elevated to contender status in this truncated, 48-game season.
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