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Contract talks begin between Habs, Subban

Nov 12, 2013, 5:48 PM EDT

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One of the most intriguing contract negotiations of the season is underway.

The Montreal Canadiens have begun extension talks with reigning Norris winner P.K. Subban, TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports. Lavoie also passes along word that discussions are also underway with another key Montreal defenseman, Rafael Diaz.

It is the Subban contract, though, that’ll draw the most interest.

The 24-year-old missed the first four games of last season embroiled in a contract holdout, ended after he signed a two-year, $5.75 million “bridge deal” largely viewed as a win by Habs GM Marc Bergevin. Earning a modest $2.875 million, Subban had a career year by scoring 11 goals and 38 points in just 42 games, capturing his first-ever Norris award while joining Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson, Jacques Laperriere, Larry Robinson and Chris Chelios as the only Habs to win the trophy.

Subban is a RFA at season’s end and should be in line for a big payday. It’s possible his agent, Don Meehan, will be eyeballing the seven-year, $45.5 million deal Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson got on the heels of his Norris award — but it’ll be interesting to see if the situation at hand between Subban and head coach Michel Therrien plays a role.

Therrien has, on a few occasions, parked Subban during critical moments of games, most notably in the final four minutes of regulation in a shootout loss to St. Louis.

Here’s more, from TSN:

“I will not comment on the ice time of any player,” head coach Michel Therrien said Wednesday morning when questioned about Subban’s minutes. Therrien did, however, add that Subban played “a hell of a game for us…exactly what we needed from him.”

TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie found the timing of the most recent focus on Subban’s ice time to be interesting. “It’s a real interesting dynamic at a real interesting time that all this is happening probably a week or two before P.K.’s representatives are going to start contract negotiations with the Canadiens,” McKenzie told TSN Radio 690 Montreal on Wednesday morning.

Despite this, Subban is still boasting great numbers this year — 17 points through 18 games, while averaging 24:30 per night.

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