Report: P.K. Subban seeks $8.5 million from Canadiens in arbitration

P.K. Subban is seeking $8.5 million in arbitration. (USATSI)
P.K. Subban is seeking $8.5 million in arbitration. (USATSI)

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With 48 hours to go before P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens are called for their scheduled arbitration hearing Friday, the two sides laid out the awards they seek from the arbitrator. According to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, Subban seeks an $8.5 million award, while the Habs are countering at one year, $5.25 million.

These numbers merely set parameters. It is widely believed the two sides will reach a deal before arbitration is necessary, rendering these numbers somewhat meaningless. That said, it offers a small glimpse into where the negotiation may be headed. Odds are the final contract's annual average will wide up between those two numbers, but don't expect it to be close to the middle as you'd expect Subban to have leverage here.

Subban’s request mirrors the one made by Shea Weber in a 2011 salary arbitration hearing. The Nashville Predators defenseman also sought $8.5 million, while the Preds countered with $4.75 million. Weber earned a $7.5 million award from the arbitrator, the largest such award in NHL history.

If the Habs’ negotiation with Subban were to end up in the arbitration room, the skilled defenseman would likely be able to receive something similar to Weber’s major haul three years ago.

More than likely, however, the two sides are going to reach a long-term agreement. According to CapGeek.com, the Canadiens have about $11.6 million in cap space, with Subban the only key restricted free agent left unsigned. The annual average on his contract should take up a good chunk of that available space.

That’s what makes Subban’s arbitration request of $8.5 million actually seem a little lower than expected. There's a good chance Subban receives right around that number, if not slightly lower. That's not a bad deal considering the Habs are negotiating with a Norris Trophy winner whose best years may be ahead of him.

The 25-year-old defenseman has grown into a star of the game. He put up 53 points last season and was incredible in the playoffs with 14 points in 17 postseason contests. He won the Norris Trophy in 2013 after he put up 38 points in 42 games during the lockout-shortened season. As a rookie, Subban scored his career high of 14 goals.

There’s a lot to like about what Subban brings, from high-end puck skills, a booming shot, speed and crushing body checks. He has become one of the cornerstone players for the Canadiens and should be striking a massive deal before Friday’s hearing.

Even though the Habs put forth a $5.25 million award request, they have to know that they’ll be paying substantially more per year over the possible max term of eight years and they should do so gladly. There aren’t many players in the league quite like Subban and everyone, even the guys who begrudgingly write the big checks, knows it.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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