If you are an unconditional fan of P.K. Subban and that prevents you from seeing both sides of the medal, I suggest you stop reading right here. If you hate Subban for whatever odd reason and you categorically want him traded, you might appreciate this article but it’s not written for you. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of Subban but, like me, understand that situations are almost never totally black or white, then this is for you.
But first, let me get one thing clear: I do not want to see P.K. Subban traded… unless after the trade, the team is better! You see, I’ve been cheering for this team for four decades and never have I loved a player more than the CH itself. The names in the back have changed over time but the logo in front has stayed the same and ultimately, that’s what I’m cheering for.
With that out of the way, here is why I feel like there is a possibility that Subban might have played his last game in a Montreal Canadiens’ uniform.
- Going back to the 2007 draft, NHL scouts were stating openly that Subban was a first round pick talent but his antics could scare teams away, and 42 times, he was passed on by teams before the Canadiens took a chance on him.
- While those issues seem to be in the past, he was regularly getting into fights with teammates in practice. Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, amongst others, have had their issues caught on camera and all were with Subban.
- Marc Bergevin, still unsure about his defenseman’s relationship with key teammates and his ability to be a team player, insisted on giving him a bridge deal, wanting to buy more time to see exactly how Subban would mature and cope in the dressing room. Some fans were outraged by it, but the GM knew something that fans and even members of the media didn’t.
- Fans were split between Subban and a few others about who should become the Canadiens’ captain. The players voted and as we know, Max Pacioretty won the vote. This is not a huge deal, it’s just a drop in the bucket.
- Prior to the 2016 trade deadline, we have heard rumblings that Subban’s name was out there in trade rumours. Here’s what Louis Jean of TVA Sports tweeted:
- After suffering a neck injury and being take out on a stretcher on a play that seemed quite innocent in nature, Subban was shut down for the season, although his family confirmed that night that he was okay and out of hospital. This took many by surprise, particularly that after practicing with the team, he stopped doing so while Carey Price, also shut down, kept practicing with his teammates.
- In a news that surprised everyone, the Canadiens announced their nominee for the King Clancy Award, honour given to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community, most were shocked to hear that it was Pacioretty. In a year where Subban has committed to give $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital, for what was qualified as the biggest philanthropic commitment by a sports figure in Canadian history, giving it to anyone else is a real slap in the face.
- On April 8th, CTV’s Brian Wilde surprised the Montreal hockey world by citing a source saying that the team was angling a major trade this summer. Later on TSN690 radio, acknowledging that it would be difficult to do, Wilde confirmed that he was referring to Subban and that the Canadiens were considering the option of trading him.
- The next day, perhaps the biggest insider in the NHL, Bob McKenzie stated on TSN 1050 radio that he would be shocked “if the Canadiens don’t, as an organization, sit down and have a discussion about all of their options, including P.K., before his full no-trade kicks in, and see where it goes from there”.
- Confronted on the issue when facing the media, head coach Michel Therrien refused to comment on the reports of Subban being shopped, stating (rightfully so) that he wasn’t ready to talk about what could happen this summer yet.
- Subban, in an odd move, tweeted that he loves Montreal. Does he know something we don’t? I doubt anyone questioned his love for the City or the fans?
- During his post-season press conference, GM Marc Bergevin was pressed by reporters to make a commitment to Subban and not trade him. Each time, Bergevin stated that he was not actively looking at trading Subban, nor was he actively looking at trading Price and Pacioretty, but he stopped short of saying that he was an untouchable. In fact, when asked if he was, Bergevin said that no one is untouchable, that Gretzky in his prime was traded!
- Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet posted that he believes that Subban could be in a new uniform next season.
- When asked about Subban by Le Journal de Montréal, the great Larry Robinson had this to say:
“P.K. has all the tools to succeed. But you must understand that no athlete is more important than his team. When a player becomes bigger than the team, you have a problem. I don’t care which player it is. Guy Lafleur is the best player I played with. Everyone wanted to talk to him after his performances, but what counted for him, was what he had done for the team.” ~ Larry Robinson
There is no denying that P.K. Subban is a world class athlete and an outstanding individual in the community. He loves Montreal and Montreal loves him. I agree with Brian Wilde that the odds of seeing a big name like him being traded are relatively slim. Unlike Wilde, I don’t think that Molson will have anything to do with the decision this time, or that at least, Bergevin will be able to talk him into letting him do what he has in mind. The tough part is the value you are getting back. The Canadiens could not replace the gap left by him if they traded him. They would only hope to fill some of it on defense, then fill a bigger need up front. If trading Subban makes the Montreal Canadiens a better team after the trade, that’s what counts. If it doesn’t, then let’s drop the question.
Maybe I am reading way too much into this and if that’s what you think, you may be absolutely right. But those are way too many flags to just put our head in the sand and play ostrich, thinking that it’s not happening. Subban’s No-Movement Claude kicks in on July 1st.