The shock waves of one of the most stunning trades in recent NHL history are still being felt throughout North America. P.K. Subban for Shea Weber was the kind of deal that seemed inconceivable, but it happened. The defensemen with the highest cap hits in the NHL got swapped.

In the build-up to the trade, when rumors started swirling, hockey insiders kept citing the $9 million cap hit attached to Subban as a motivating factor for the deal. If that is the case, the path to this trade began four years ago.

Ahead of the 2012-13 season, the Canadiens played hardball with Subban. The Canadiens barely budged from their original stance and Subban eventually relented after missing games because of the dispute, signing a two-year, $5.75 million contract.

Subban won the Norris Trophy in 2013 and followed that up with a 53-point campaign in 2013-14. He made them pay, literally. Subban earned the eight-year, $72 million contract that gave him the third highest cap hit in the league at the time.

Two years later he was gone, just before his no-trade clause would kick in. Would he have been dealt if the team signed him to a long-term extension back in 2012-13 at a far lower price? The franchise's path could have been drastically different.

The Subban situation is an extreme example of a bridge deal biting a team in the behind. None has ever ended so dramatically, and the Habs have had some success with bridges in the past. However, when a team miscalculates on their own talent, they put their long-term salary cap outlook at risk for short-term benefits.

That is a mistake fewer teams are making now. When it comes to proven young talent becoming first-time restricted free agents, the bridge deal is either dying or it's already dead. We've seen multiple restricted free agents come out of their entry-level contracts with long-term extensions in hand this summer alone. There will be more before the puck drops in 2016-17.

One of the reasons this trend is gaining steam is that these young players are performing at a high enough level that they just plain deserve to get paid. Even though first-time RFAs have next to no leverage, teams aren't trying to cut corners with them anymore because, in many cases, they will be their club's most important players and will likely have their best NHL seasons during this second deal. It's mutually beneficial to just go long-term now and avoid headaches and possible arbitration in later RFA years.

Here's a look at the five first-time RFAs who have already cashed in on the trend this summer (listed chronologically), followed by six more who should be joining them in the long-term contract club soon:

The Blue Jackets probably saved money in the long term by locking up Seth Jones now. USATSI

1. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators: The Preds have seen more than enough to know that Forsberg is their offensive catalyst for years to come. He signed a six-year, $36 million contract following another highly-productive season. Nashville's trade to land him from the Washington Capitals three years ago could go down as one of the team's most important in history, especially if their young forward continues his progression after back-to-back seasons of more than 60 points. And yes, that includes the recent trade of Weber for Subban.

2. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets: Jones was pretty quick to follow his ex-teammate Forsberg with a six-year, $32.4 million extension from the Jackets. After trading Ryan Johansen to acquire him, Columbus already spent big, but this is an extremely reasonable contract for a guy who should be their No. 1 defenseman for a long time.

3. Vincent Trocheck, Florida Panthers: Florida bet big on Trocheck after his breakout season with a six-year, $28.5 million contract ($4.75 million AAV). He's only been a full-time NHLer for one season, but after scoring 25 goals last year, the team clearly sees him as a long-term top-six forward. The Panthers also got ahead of the eight-ball on another would-be RFA by signing defenseman Aaron Ekblad to a max extension while he still has a year left on his entry-level deal.

4. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets: Winnipeg got extremely aggressive when it came to re-signing their first post-relocation draft pick for eight years and $49 million ($6.125 AAV). Scheifele has had some stops and starts in his early career, but has become a top forward. Last year, he was one of the most productive scorers in the NHL over the second half of the season.

5. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: The former first overall pick got a seven-year deal worth $44.1 million. After winning the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie in 2013-14, MacKinnon took a minor step back in his sophomore season as his production slowed and injuries cost him some games. Last year, however, he bounced back in a big way with 52 points in 72 games.

There are still multiple players unsigned coming off of their ELCs that should be expecting high-priced long-term deals. Here's a look at some of the other top candidates poised to cash in:

Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau both deserve big paydays from Calgary. USATSI

1. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames: After finishing sixth in the NHL with 78 points last season, Johnny Gaudreau should be expecting a massive payday from the Flames. He should reasonably be able to command $6.5 to $7 million per season on a max extension, but the Flames have another big-time RFA to get signed, too, in Sean Monahan.

2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning: After leading the Lightning in scoring last season and starring for them in the playoffs, Kucherov should be looking at a lucrative long-term deal. He's had 59 goals and 131 points over the last two seasons. The problem is that the Lightning have four RFAs to re-sign and about $13 million to do it with. This could take a little while to get done as the Lightning figure out their future under a new salary cap situation following the new deals for Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. This is a team that probably needs to move some salary out to get everything situated prior to next season.

3. Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames: Monahan has been making an impact from his first season on, but he has really thrived alongside Gaudreau over the last two seasons. He had 31 goals in 2014-15 and 27 last year, topping 60 points in each campaign. The Flames would probably like to see both he and Gaudreau at a similar salary. The Flames have nearly $15 million in cap space to get it done.

4. Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks: It took Lindholm next to no time to become a top-four defenseman on a team that has won its division four years in a row. The 22-year-old has become a linchpin player for the Ducks and should only get better. His production took a dip this year, but that might have more to do with his defensive responsibility going up. Anaheim has long been rumored as looking to move Cam Fowler in a trade. They have just over $9 million in cap space left and also have to re-sign RFA forward Rickard Rakell. Moving Fowler would help clear the way for a bigger extension for Lindholm, who certainly deserves one.

5. Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets: After a standout rookie campaign, Trouba has had two more solid years even as his numbers have waned a bit. The Jets are not often a team you'd expect to spend all the way to the cap and they're about $10.3 million away from the ceiling presently for next season. It would be reasonable to use Seth Jones' contract as a guide for what Trouba should be able to command as a young defenseman who already plays a huge role for his team.

6. Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres: A 41-point season for Ristolainen is going to force the Sabres to pay big on his next contract. The big Finnish rearguard also averaged over 25:16 a game last season -- the 10th highest rate in the NHL -- and appears to be the cornerstone of Buffalo's defense now and well into the future. It would not be a surprise to see his contract edge closer to the $6 million-per-year range. The Sabres take care of their guys and he's an important one to lock up long term.

There are still going to be cases where the bridge deal makes sense. Some players have more to prove than others. However, as the young players in the NHL continue to raise their game, they're showing that it makes way more sense for teams to make the moves necessary to keep them around for as long as they possibly can.