I mean really. What is wrong with people in this town? Don’t even think of trading P.K. Subban. Just stop it.
The whole ‘trade-P.K.’ thing, which has been bubbling along thanks to the often-inane rantings of the various over-caffeinated ex-coaches on L’Antichambre, went into overdrive this week when Francois Gagnon published a column in La Presse under the headline: ‘Echanger Subban? Pourquoi pas.’ (Trade Subban? Why not.)
Wednesday morning on TSN Radio 990, Gagnon was doing some fancy stick-handling to try to deflect criticism of the sensationalistic column, saying he was just mulling over possibilities rather than suggesting the Canadiens SHOULD trade the young defenceman. Fair enough, but the column made it clear Gagnon is not a Subban fan.
He makes some good points – yes it is indeed true that no one is untouchable – but when he says the Habs would be idiotic not to consider trading Subban for, say, Eric Staal, well that’s when the column loses all its credibility. To even consider dumping Subban for a 27-year-old centre with 11 goals in 51 games this season just makes no sense.
In fact, trading Subban period makes no sense. As Shawn Apel said to me this morning down in the bowels of the Radio-Canada tower, the Hab-nots shouldn’t be trading away any promising young players. And Shawn’s right – as usual!
The Montreal Canadiens need to re-build and that re-building should happen with Subban, Carey ‘What Me Worry’ Price, Max ‘Gonna Be a Great Power Forward’ Pacioretty, and David ‘I Wish I Was Taller’ Desharnais as the cornerstones of that franchise. What Habs GM Pierre ‘Major Major’ Gauthier needs to do is trade away a few of the pricey older guys – hello Scott ‘Big Bucks = Loopy Grin’ Gomez – in return for either hot young players or good draft picks.
Yes P.K. is having the season from hell. He often seems to be skating in circles on the ice, lost at the Bell Centre. He makes some incredibly stupid plays, like the blind pass that led to a Penguins goal Friday night. But Pernell Karl ‘Yes I Do Like Myself Quite a Bit’ Subban is only 22 and this is only his second season in the big leagues.
Gagnon said on 990 that Subban would still be in the minors if he was in the Red Wings organization but no team would pass on a D-man able to score 14 goals in his rookie season – not to mention lay on a lot more physicality than most of his colleagues on the Habs blue-line.
If Subban’s development is faltering – and it is – it’s largely the Habs’s fault. This is an organization that is notoriously bad at developing and nurturing young talent. Why couldn’t Montreal turn Ryan ‘Own Squad’ O’Byrne into a solid defenceman? Why did Colorado succeed where the Habs failed so badly?
The team has put way too much pressure on Subban this season. He plays nearly 24 minutes a-night and is on the lead power-play unit.
Basically the heavy lifting in the back end is done entirely by Subban and Josh ‘Next Captain’ Gorges, and that’s just ridiculous. Ghost Gauthier should’ve reached out to get some quality support for those two – but instead he bought into the dream, which is turning into a nightmare, that Andrei ‘APB’ Markov would be returning.
The idea of trading Subban is a non-starter. Or at least it should be. No sensible GM would even thinking of going there. So of course there’s a good chance that’s exactly what Gauthier will do.