Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks and Jordan Subban have ended weeks of breathless speculation by agreeing to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Subban, 20, is undersized but he’s a workout freak (his entire Twitter timeline is basically clips of him lifting outrageous amounts) and he’s been one of the OHL’s most dynamic offensive defensemen over the past few years. When you consider the low level of talent that Subban has generally been surrounded with on the rebuilding/folding Belleville Bulls, his level of offensive output is actually extraordinarily impressive.
The youngest of the three Subban brothers will be eligible to play in the AHL next season, and that’s likely where he’ll start out. There aren’t too many defensemen Subban’s size who are NHL regulars, so we might reasonably say that the odds are against him being an impact player at the NHL level.
For whatever reason, this deal took a while for the two sides to consummate. In fact, the club only had two weeks to sign Subban before he re-entered the draft pool.
We’ll be left to wonder what caused the delay, but it was probably just a tough negotiation.
Yes there wasn’t all that much to negotiate – entry-level contracts are capped at a pretty low maximum, the maximum signing bonus can’t exceed roughly $275,000 (paid out over three years), the AHL salary can’t exceed $70,000, and the performance bonuses are standardized – but it seems most likely that the Canucks were looking to compensate Subban as if he were a standard fourth-round pick, while Subban’s representatives with Newports Sports were driving a tougher bargain and looking to get a better deal (with a higher AHL salary for example).
Unless either side is explicit about it, or unless very specific details pertaining to the contract and performance bonuses are leaked (from which we can make some strong inferences), we’re unlikely to get the full story.
Not that it matters, really. The deal got done! The Canucks signed an intriguing if undersized asset! Disaster averted.