|Subban had seven goals and 29 assists for the Habs last season. (Getty Images)|
As soon as the new CBA is ratified by both the owners and the players, teams will be able to start making roster moves. In the case of a few teams, that means signing restricted free agents as soon as possible and getting them into training camp.
They figure to be interesting test cases into the value of NHL players in the new agreement. The owners fought to reduce player salaries and diminish contract rights so those RFAs will be telling how things might play out in the future.
Among the six remaining RFAs, one of them is the loquacious and talented P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens. He and the Habs didn't come to a deal before the lockout but now, according to Chris Stevenson, Subban has a few numbers in mind.
There was talk in Montreal on Tuesday the Subban camp could be looking for a deal similar to that signed by Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty, who landed an eight-year deal worth $56 million. That sounds like a pretty lofty demand.
No offense to Subban, he is certainly a talented player with a big future, but if he gets a contract with Doughty-type money then it will be more than fair to ask what the heck the last four months were for anyway. Doughty got a very rich $7 million per season contract after his entry-level deal, which would seem to be just a bit high for Subban. Especially in a new CBA.
It would seem to be more realistic to expect something around $5 million per season for Subban, and I'd guess that's about where he ends up when it's all said and done.
Remember this, too: The Canadiens are not swimming in cap space or anything. Sure, they have some buyouts coming down the line (Scott Gomez as we all know will be one of them) but that's not for another season yet. Those buyouts can't be used before the upcoming offseason. Right now the Habs couldn't afford a $7 million cap hit in the $70 million salary cap, it would be even tougher to squeeze in when the cap goes down to $64.3 million next season.
The other restricted free agents who remain unsigned are Jamie Benn, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan O'Rielly, Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson.