The Montreal Canadiens and restricted free-agent defenseman P.K. Subban have finally worked out a new contract.
Per an official release from the team on Monday:
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced Monday the signing of defenseman P.K. Subban to a two-year contract (2012-13 to 2013-14). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Subban, 23, notched 36 points (7 goals, 29 assists) in 81 regular season games in 2011-12. He tied for second on the team with five powerplay goals.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the 23-year-old star will make almost $6 million with his new contract.
So P.K. Subban re-ups with MTL, two years, $2M in Year 1 and $3.75M in Year 2 for $2.875M AAV.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 29, 2013
Subban also spoke to the media on Monday night (via David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period):
PK on signing 2yr deal: "This was the right decision. This was the best deal, for not only myself, but for the Canadiens, more importantly"— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) January 29, 2013
While Subban missed the first four games of the season negotiating toward a new deal with the Canadiens, his team went 3-1 and outscored opponents 13-7.
With six of Montreal's next seven games against Northeast Division opponents, it was important that Bergevin got Subban signed for this crucial stretch of the team's schedule.
This is a huge victory for Bergevin and the Canadiens because they were able to stand firm and not back down from what they were willing to offer Subban, which was a two-year deal and not a long-term contract.
Re-signing a player of Subban's caliber for a salary cap hit of less than $3 million is great business for the Canadiens, who must be smarter about the contracts they sign with free agents after making some poor deals in recent seasons.
The Canadiens clearly weren't interested in giving Subban a huge contract coming off his entry-level deal, and want him to earn his first major contract with his on-ice performance.
On the open market, Subban would have likely received offers with an average annual salary of $5 million or more, but unless a team decided to extend a massive offer sheet to him, he didn't have much of a chance to earn that kind of money.
If Subban continues to play like an elite offensive defenseman, he will get the huge contract he desires very soon. His agents and the Canadiens can start to discuss a new long-term contract as soon as July.
With Subban's new deal, Montreal has set a good example for the team's future restricted free agents that they will not get a huge second contract and must earn a high salary with several years of impressive play.
Bergevin deserves a lot of credit for passing the first major test of his tenure as Canadiens general manager.