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Arbitration set to begin for Subban, Canadiens

by Brian Compton /

Defenseman P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens had not reached agreement on a new contract as of Friday morning with an arbitration hearing set to begin.

The 25-year-old restricted free agent tied for fifth among NHL defensemen last season with 53 points in 82 games and led the Canadiens with 14 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs averaging 27:26 of ice time per game. He earned $3.75 million last season, with a $2.875 million NHL salary-cap charge, in the final season of a two-year contract.

It has been reported by multiple media outlets that the sides remain far apart in their salary submissions. It is possible a deal can be reached during the arbitration process. Otherwise, Subban will receive the arbitrator's award.

Subban confirmed Thursday that his agent, Don Meehan, and the Canadiens continue to work toward a new deal.

"When it comes to hockey and sports, obviously there's the CBA [collective bargaining agreement], so everybody has to operate within the CBA," Subban told TSN 690 in Montreal. "We understand that. When it comes to negotiation, I let my agent take care of that. Obviously I've been adamant and I've repeated it many times … I'm sure if you look at all the interviews and the many interviews that I've done in Montreal over the past four years about how I feel about the province, the team and the organization, it's all been consistent. So there's no reason for anybody to think that that has changed.

"But in terms of a negotiation, this is business now. This is not just about P.K. the hockey player. This is business between what's best for P.K. and what's best for the organization, and it's been mutual respect on both sides. … Obviously over the years you've seen many negotiations throughout the League that have maybe gone sour, maybe have gone really good, haven't lasted long, but I have to say in respect to this negotiation it's been completely respectful on both sides. It's been great. I'm happy with the communication, the level of communication. Both sides are working hard to get something done. Obviously we understand the time frame and I'm sure my agent is having many conversations with Marc [Bergevin, Canadiens general manager] over the next 48 hours. I haven't heard from him this morning, but I'm sure that they're having many conversations, as everyone else would expect.

"As far as this goes, I have to respect the fact that my agent's been doing this for a very, very long time and understand that he's going to make sure that something gets done, and when it gets done that it's best for not only myself but for the Montreal Canadiens. He's had a long working relationship with them and I'm sure he's going to continue to work with them with many other clients in the future."


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