Skip to content

Subban: “I want to be paid what I’m worth”

Jan 24, 2013, 11:54 AM EDT

P.K. Subban Getty Images

In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with the Montreal Gazette, PK Subban made one thing abundantly clear.

He knows his value, and he wants to be compensated accordingly.

“It’s come down to this — I want to be paid what I’m worth,” Subban told the Gazette’s Dave Stubbs.

Subban, a restricted free agent, hasn’t played this year as his contract negotiation with the Canadiens continues to drag along.

(The Gazette suggests the Canadiens want a short-term deal to “bridge” Subban to his next contract, which would be more lucrative. Subban wants to be paid what he believes he’s worth to the team.)

While other talented RFA blueliners in similar positions sorted out their deals — John Carlson inked with Washington right before the lockout, Michael Del Zotto signed with the Rangers during training camp — Subban’s situation has developed into a full-blown saga.

Though to be fair, Subban’s situation is rather complex.

His value to Montreal is probably higher than Carlson’s to Washington (where Mike Green plays the most minutes) or Del Zotto’s to New York (where he’s behind Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, maybe Marc Staal too.)

Though he’s only 23, Subban has already played 160 regular-season and 21 playoff games. He also led all Habs blueliners in ice time last year (24:18) and spent extensive time on both the penalty kill and power play.

The flip side, of course, is that the Habs are remarkably deep on defense.

They have seven blueliners on one-way deals and Andrei Markov is healthy for the first time in what feels like forever (Markov already has two goals and is averaging 23:37 a game.)

Regardless, Subban says he knows what he’s worth and wants to be paid accordingly.

“For my style of game and for what I do for the team, the amount of minutes I play and for what I bring to the table, I have to be fairly compensated,” he explained. “We’re not trying to rob the bank here (in contract talks). We’re not reinventing anything. We’re not holding a gun to the Canadiens’ head saying, ‘Pay us this or we’re walking away.’

“We just want to be compensated for what I’m worth.”

The end result in all of this could be a parting of ways via trade, something that has been bandied about but never spoken publicly by either Habs GM Marc Bergevin or Subban’s agent, Don Meehan.

That said, Subban realizes being dealt out of Montreal is a possibility.

“It comes down to this: I’m 23, and at some point I will be playing hockey again. I hope it’s in Montreal because I really and truly want to win there, more than anywhere else in the NHL,” he said.

“Do I see myself playing for any other team? From a business standpoint, I’m sure there are other teams where I could fit in and be a big part of things moving forward, give them a chance to win.

“But ultimately, deep down inside, I want to play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

  1. 19to77 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    “But ultimately, deep down inside, I want to play for the [first team that offers me $5m+ per season].”

    • elemeno89 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      he wont get that much by not playing. not team wants to deal with a “pay me what im owed” type attidude.

      • 19to77 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        Oh, I quite agree. I think he’s a staggering idiot for this nonsense. He’s only hurting his relationship with his teammates AND the bottom line on his contract. He’s just shooting himself in the foot here.

    • elemeno89 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      he wont get that much by not playing. not team wants to deal with a “pay me what im owed” type attitude.

  2. jeremyroenickdanceparty - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    I want to hear opinions on why no other team has given him (or Jamie Benn for that matter) an offer sheet. I think he’s not worth a big contract at this point in his career but aren’t there plenty of teams that need a guy like this?

    • ThatGuy - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Whats the point? Montreal will Match(or Dallas for that Matter) and you burn a bridge with a team.

      • crosberries - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        No one wants to be a dbag like the Philly gm

    • ribs108 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      One of my friends speculates that no GM wants to ‘mess with’ the Canadiens due to their once long-storied history. I believe that if this is the case, it is time to realize that that history is very far in the past and that the franchise has become just 1 of 30 teams in a big-business league. I am hoping that someone will ‘breach’ that unspoken taboo of not crossing Montreal, and submit an offer sheet. He makes Molson (the owner) tons of money and I’ll bet that on opening night PK merchandise sold more than anyone else’s (with the possible exception of Price). Perhaps Bergevin is jealous of another defenseman who’s about to make more in 1 season than Marc made in his whole career. I’d say they might trade him, but I think that Bergevin is only capable of changing around the front office, not the team on the ice. Time will tell.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      In my opinion it is indirect collusion.

      Teams just watched Gary Bettman go way out of his way to punish teams that crossed him under the last collective bargaining agreement by exploiting the rules in place to drive up player salaries.

      They know that the first GM to go out and drive up the price of everyone’s RFAs is going to have a special place in Bettman’s doghouse and it’s just not worth the ire I would expect.

      A team right now could offer Subban $6.7m a year (that’s Jay Bouwmeester money to put it in perspective) and all it would cost them is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round pick in this draft. Subban is easily worth the acquisition cost, and might well be worth the cap hit within a few seasons.

      You’re telling me there’s not a team out there, desperate for a right shooting potential #1 defenseman?

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Hell, Philly just tendered a monster offer sheet this past offseason.

        After failing to get that player and failing to get a meaninful substitute (Luke Schenn, please), why are they so silent on this?

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Because this guy isn’t worth the compensation

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        He’s easily worth a 1st, 2nd and 3rd – if a team gets one player of Subban’s calibre out of any draft (so that’s seven picks), even if they don’t get a single other NHL player that’s a wildly successful draft.

        That being said I don’t think he’s worth $6m right now, but then again there are teams out there with a fair bit of cap space that are absolutely desperate for his kind of talent on their blueline.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        for a 3rd of 4th defenseman? Are you nuts?

      • valoisvipers - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:52 PM

        Here are PK’s numbers. GP G A T +/-
        2010-2011 Canadiens 77 14 24 38 -8
        2011-2012 Canadiens 81 7 29 36 +9
        I just don’t see what others see in this guy.
        Fights at practice, disrespects players,likes to take liberties on players yet rarely drops the gloves, chirps way too much,his goal production dropped by half last season and now he is holding out. How much is 36 points and a bad attitude worth now days?
        Now he says he wants to be paid what he is worth.
        Keep it up and he might next be saying,
        Do you want fries with that?

      • badintent - Jan 25, 2013 at 1:17 AM

        He’s the NHL Chad Ochocinco without the All -Pro games

    • elvispocomo - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      Who wants to be the first GM after a new CBA was signed to sign a player to an offer sheet? Particularly since that offer sheet would have to be significant in order to have any chance of Montreal or Dallas no matching?

  3. goalieguy37 - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Maybe the habs organization is a bit wary after finally freeing themselves of Gomez…

  4. puckmepuckyou - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Flyers should be ringing this guys phone off the hook. F Montreal

  5. pooinyourface - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:49 PM


  6. sabatimus - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    If PK wants to be paid what he’s worth, he’d have to pay whatever team he signs with.

  7. puckmepuckyou - Jan 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Exactly. Probably true comment about Bettmans dog house but Ed Snyder in Philly probably has no fear of that they have a large market. Make the offer

  8. zetaone - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    This guy’s been in the league for 2 years, who the hell does he think he is? He certainly hasn’t done anything on the stat sheet or on the ice to warrant anything besides an average contract.

    He hasn’t broken 40 points, has 243 PIM in 2 seasons which is high considering the guy doesn’t fight ever. He had 105 hits and 113 blocked shots. Not exactly extremely high figures.

    Look at a guy like Dan Girardi who makes $3.3 mil, last season he had 211 hits and 185 blocked shots (the previous he had 236). Subban is just plays a peacock style game where he tries to make himself look better than he really is.

    Big thumbs up to Montreal for putting their foot down. For the time being anyway.

    • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      If you think Dan Girardi (who is a great player on a great contract, let me just say) and PK Subban are the same type of player then there’s probably not much point discussing this.

      Subban is a dynamic offensive player who has shown flashes of being able to be a #1 guy (of course he’ll never be a huge, imposing player like Pronger or Chara).

      And on the Canadiens last year, he was their #1 guy. I don’t know what he’s specifically asking for and I know that GMs should be looking to pay guys less than what they are worth but you can be damn sure that Subban would get more than Girardi’s $3.3m from a lot of teams.

      I would guess he’d get at least a million more than that if he was able to go to arbitration.

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Oh and the Rangers bookkeepers juice the stats of players on that team like few others in the league (and hits are an enormously subjective stat).

        Markus Naslund pretty much tripled his hit figure the one year he played for the Rangers, which would be plausible if he felt rejuvenated there but he couldn’t even be bothered finishing the last year on his contract with them.

        For broader evidence you can look at the wild variance of home ice hits players pile up vs. the relatively low variance of hits they are credited for when playing in someone else’s building.

      • zetaone - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        But with his numbers he hasn’t shown he is anything besides an average defensemen. If he can’t break 40 points, he can’t ask for a big contract because of his offensive prowess. If he can’t put up low PIMs, high hits and blocked shots, he can’t ask for a big contract because of his defensive prowess.

        I see $4/year as fair for him with a 3-4 year deal. He does show promise, but at this point in his career, he isn’t worth anything more. GMs have been getting screwed paying out for “potential”. If NHL contracts aren’t going to be contingent on future performance year to year, then you ought to have a few good season to show you deserve a large contract.

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        40 points is a bit arbitrary.

        Subban led Canadiens defensemen in scoring last year and was top 20 in the league in powerplay scoring for defensemen, he played the most of any Canadiens defenseman with the second toughest matchups of any Canadiens defenseman and the best puck possession numbers of any regular Canadiens defenseman (Markov’s were better but he only played 13 games).

        I don’t think we’re that far off in terms of dollar value, I think Subban could probably get a deal worth around $5m but on my team I’d rather see him closer to $4m.

        The real problem is that it sounds like the Canadiens want to get him to sign a short term deal for substantially less, and a truly laughable amount if the comparisons from within that organization (check out the always great Elliotte Friedman for those are any indication).

      • zetaone - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        Being the highest scoring defensemen on the Canadiens isn’t really much to brag about (no offense Habs fans). That’s like being the tallest Kentucky Derby Jockey.

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Well, sure. But he’s still their highest scoring defenseman and he’s asking to be paid in line with his value to the team.

        Are people here seriously suggesting that a player who can moonlight as your number one defenseman isn’t worth a few million a year?

        The guy is 23 and playing at that level, I would suggest it’s worth signing him just on the assumption that continued development will make him worth more than his cap hit (yet again)… but Marc Bergevin is a new GM and has chosen to take a hard line in this one, it makes sense.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        The guy seems to want to be paid on potential rather than what he’s actually accomplished. Why not just take a smaller paycheque and prove you’re worth what you want? You want to tell me hockey players aren’t greedy? I’m sure Mtl is offering minimum $3mil/yr, which is far from chump change. I like the guy, but holding a team hostage when you haven’t really done anything yet is egotistical, not to mention risky. Showing “flashes” of your skill doesn’t mean you’ll show anymore than just “flashes,” no matter what anyone predicts. If he wants more, trade him to someone else for draft picks.

      • davebabychreturns - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        Lostpuppysyndrome, check out that link I posted.

        I recognize it’s a different GM than the precedents Friedman points to but we’re talking about a bunch of players breaking into the league and then being pressed to sign deals in the $1.5-$2.75m range over a couple of years.

        And that includes Carey Price who the Canadiens hitched their wagon to, so it’s not like we’re comparing Subban to a bunch of plugs here.. there’s a good chance the Canadiens really do want him to take $3m or perhaps well under it on a short term deal.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        If he’s your first defenseman your team is in a lot of trouble

  9. ballistictrajectory - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Maybe if they let him ride on the Zamboni once in a while he’ll accept the offer.

  10. mwalluk - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    He’s worth a few good foot lacerations….

  11. lsxphotog - Jan 24, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    He’s demanding star player money and he’s really only deserving of about $3-mil a year…maybe $3.5. If he can’t agree to terms on that amount, he may be waiting a long time before he hits the ice in the NHL. $5-mil a year is steep…sorry, bub, you’re not THAT good. Agree to a 2-year or a 3-year deal at $3-million. Play your heart out. Come back to the Habs and ask for $5-million when you’ve proven yourself and get 5 or more years out of them.

    Or just just sit an be an idiot.

  12. lionstigersandwingsohmy - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    I bet if they do trade him, Montreal demands a player deserving a $5-$6 million deal. Value is subjective.

  13. sjsharks66 - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    If he actually played and stopped being a child on the ice, then he would get paid what he is worth. The Habs are probably sick of having to sit him down and talk to him about his on ice behavior. Maybe this is some tough love.

    • kmacle - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      No disrespect, but I think you might have that backwards. There’s a strong argument to be made that the clown behavior is Montreal’s doing. That organization hasn’t done anything for his development. Might be the best thing in the world for Subban to end up on a team that gets him out of that mold.

  14. travishenryskid - Jan 24, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Subban is a good player, but ideally you’d want him being 2nd or 3rd on your depth chart if you are a really good team. He’s too much of a primaddona for his own good and he hurts his value because of it. He’s a player every team would want if he learned to be a little bit humble, but as of right now teams are wishy washy about him, including his own team.

  15. bostonboy82 - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    You should be paid what your worth, that’s why your not playing. Your not worth it.

  16. uscthom78 - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Get Rosetta Stone, go through a couple of levels, then they will be more than happy to pay you fairly .

  17. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 24, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I’m not so sure if another team offers Subban a lucrative contract that Montreal would match. On a playoff bubble team like this you’d think Bergevin would atleast consider taking the picks (depending on how much the offer is). And like it says in the article the Habs have solid D depth, especially with Markov back. Subban can hit and score but I think it’s been proven that he’s not worth 5+ million for Montreal. Since value is relative he’d probably be worth that to the Flyers, since there’s no one with his skill set on the roster. Now is it a good idea for Holmgren to extend another offer sheet? Probably not. But the Flyers do have several blue chip forwards that could slot in well on the Habs. I think PK ends up staying however.

    • travishenryskid - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      Bubble team? That would take some extremely good luck. Montreal will be in the Seth Jones sweepstakes.

  18. ajbaxter1975 - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Join the Dark Side, P.K.. Come to Boston.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:57 PM


  19. liamj55 - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I am pretty sure he boys with Giroux. He is no Weber but the Flyers don’t have a choice right now. Get done homer

  20. westof1club - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    John Carlson has never scored 40pts in an 82 game season. He hasn’t surpassed Subban’s pt totals in any season. He got 5+ million days before the lockout was enacted. I’d say PK has every reason to sit out and demand his deserved salary. He’s on par if not better than Carlson statistically, and is more vital to MTL’s future than any other D man on the team.

  21. kingjoe1 - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    The Habs better be careful of the Flyers. The more the Flyers struggle on defense, the more chance they will sign Subban to a big offer sheet. A 5 year 30 million dollar deal seems fair.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Do you even watch hockey?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      5 for 30? Idk how the Flyers could fit that under the cap, but at the same time it might take that much for Bergevin not to match.

  22. drewsylvania - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    If Subban wants a big contract, he might try becoming a team player. Fighting with teammates, refusing a short-term deal despite being an RFA, taking stupid penalties and being a doucebag…well, that doesn’t sit well.

  23. hockeywithdrawal - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    “We just want to be compensated for what I’m worth.”

    As long as you’re unemployed, PK, you ARE making what you are worth.

  24. ironman721 - Jan 24, 2013 at 9:49 PM


  25. hypefree10 - Jan 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Hey Hey Hockeytown. Smith needs a D partner in Detroit

  26. joewilliesshnoz - Jan 25, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    His dirty style would fit right in with the way the Flyers play.

  27. ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 25, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I have actually had enough of this player!

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1676)
  2. P. Kane (1305)
  3. S. Matthias (1162)
  4. D. Carcillo (1060)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1036)