Sunday, August 3, 2014

P.K. Subban Swatch Card

It's finally a done deal! P.K. Subban has finally signed his 8-year contract, valued at $72M (or an average and cap hit of $9M per season). This after asking for $8.5M in arbitration, and after his agent Don Meehan saving said Subban had ''not instructed (him) to make him the highest-paid defenseman in the league''.

I'm not saying Subban won't be worth that money, because he will. The 2013 Norris winner will help the team make that money back with jersey sales alone, before factoring in that he was his team's biggest point producer in a post-season that saw the Montréal Canadiens reach the Conference Finals; his presence combined to Andrei Markov's gives the Habs 15 more points (say 6 wins) than if one of them was absent, and 25 more (10 wins) than if the team was without both.

I'm also in the camp that feels this has been Subban's team for two years, and he's the guy that will ultimately lead them back to the Stanley Cup. The sooner the better, but if it takes 3 to 5 years, maybe by then Subban will have the captain's 'C' sown near his heart and will be the first to receive the prized trophy from the commissioner's hands. This deal seals it: the Habs will live and die through Subban, who now becomes the highest money earner in team history, and surely can handle the pressure that comes with it - unlike the previous two.

Even his detractors - and there are a lot of them judging by the comments sections all over the internet, although who knows how many of those are angry or jealous Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs fans - have to admit he's among the top-10 defenders in the NHL, despite his imperfections. He may not be as ''complete'' as Markov, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty, he takes more risks, but he makes hockey entertaining to watch, and succeeds far more often than he fails. He's also become a better team player in the past couple of seasons, groomed under GM Marc Bergevin and head coach Michel Therrien - and, to a lesser extent, Team Canada coach Mike Babcock. He won a gold medal with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and never once complained despite playing in just one game. He was there for his teammates, and ready to go if called upon, but he accepted his role as the 7th or 8th defenseman. After Habs games, in victory or defeat, he faces the press, and always refers to every event that happened as being a ''team effort''.

The counterpoint to that is I thought Bergevin's hand included the ''Doughty and Weber make much less'' argument, and that Subban's role on the Canadian team showed he still had room to improve; I was thinking his salary would go: 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9, 10, 10 for a total of $69M, for an 8.625 average, giving the team a bit more room to fit other players under the cap. And Subban will ''only'' be 33 by the end of the contract, which means another big payday then. And Montréal being what it is, with ample opportunities for sponsorship deals, especially considering the Habs are owned mostly by the family who owns the Molson-Coors brewery, and in part by Bell Media... But maybe that's just splitting hairs.

In any event, this gives me an opportunity to close out my Subban cards for the summer with this jersey card, from Panini's 2011-12 Certified set (card #128 in the collection, just like the regular card, but from the Mirror variant sub-set, of which it is the blue variation); the red swatch matches the home jersey shown in the picture, and the card is numbered #47/99:

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