Colorado Avalanche Should Pursue PK Subban

March 3, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) moves the puck against Los Angeles Kings during the second period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
March 3, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (76) moves the puck against Los Angeles Kings during the second period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche are looking for an elite defenseman, and rumor has it PK Subban is being shopped around. Here’s why Subban may be just what the Avalanche need.

The Colorado Avalanche have needed an upgrade at defense for a very long time. And even though Erik Johnson has finally developed into what the Avs hoped he would be the last two years, it would still be a stretch to call him an “elite defenseman.”

But this is one of the extremely rare times that an elite defenseman is on the market, and if the Avs are serious about winning they should pursue PK Subban. Here’s why.

The Winning Attitude

More from Mile High Sticking

Normally I’m pretty old fashioned when it comes to players’ attitude and talk to the media: very humble, praise your teammates, always accept fault for the loss, etc. But I’m so sick and tired of hearing the same empty words from the Colorado Avalanche after putting forth terrible efforts. Probably the last time I actually enjoyed a player’s comments to the media was when J.S. Giguere called out the team in 2013 for “more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season”.

This is one of the main reasons I want PK Subban on the ice in an Avalanche sweater. If the rest of the team is playing like crap and without effort, I guarantee Subban’s effort doesn’t get dragged down by it. PK Subban wants to be the best, period. Sometimes it means mistakes, sometimes it means he comes off selfish, sometimes it alienates his coach. But at the end of the day I don’t think I’ve ever seen Subban have an off game.

The Colorado Avalanche need someone on their team who can give more then “good teammate” sound bytes. They need someone on the ice who is going to strive to be the best no matter what is going on around him. PK Subban is one of the few players like that in the NHL.

On a team riddled with as much inconsistency as talent, the fact they haven’t managed to play solid consistently for years is horrifying. And it seems to be a losing culture now as much as it seems to be team composition problems or X’s and O’s. And when it comes to shaking up a team, I can’t think of a better player in the NHL to change culture.

Subban Will Be An Easy Acquire (For How Valuable He Is)

PK Subban has had is problems in Montreal for a while now. One of the most obvious ones is the ridiculous distrust head coach Michel Therrien has for PK Subban. The easiest example is PK Subban’s turnover at the blue line that led to the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche last season.

Yes, none of us would be happy if Barrie did this. But at the end of the day it’s one of the best skating defenseman in the NHL who lost an edge. Yet that didn’t sway Therrien from putting the loss solely on Subban’s shoulders, “An individual mistake cost us the game late in the game.” And that was after he sat one of the best offensive defenseman in the league for the last two minutes in a game they were down by one!

And it goes further than that. Going back even a couple years we see Subban sitting upwards of the last 5 minutes of one-goal games, as a Norris winner. Even if management isn’t keen of getting rid of him, at some point it doesn’t make sense for the Canadiens to pay Subban $9 million to not play the key moments.

But I think the disconnect goes higher than the head coach. Subban made headlines this year for his massive, 10 million dollar pledge to Montreal’s Children hospital, one of the largest donations ever to be made. Yet when the NHL announced the nominees for the King Clancy award, given to players who show commitment to community and charity along with leadership, it was  Max Pacioretty whose name showed up on the list. The reason that’s a big deal? Teams submit their own nominations.

So even though acquiring Subban would not be cheap or easy by any stretch of the imagination, there’s obviously a disconnect between him and the rest of the organization. Opportunities to acquire an elite player in his prime are few and far between.

They’ll Be Spending Money Anyways

Whether or not the Colorado Avalanche acquire PK Subban, they’re going to be spending a ton of money. Tyson Barrie is reportedly considering a long term offer which is surely north of $5 million. And while another $4 million is significant, the difference between a good offensive defenseman and an elite player is worth every penny.

In addition the Colorado Avalanche seem poised to go out and get a decent defenseman as it is. Normally, I’m all about depth, but in this case I would rather see an elite defenseman and a journey man then a good and decent defenseman.

True, this isn’t so much a reason as to why the Avs should get Subban as much as it’s a counter point as to why they might not. But it’s still valid.

What A Trade Would Look Like

Here’s the tricky part — guessing what the Colorado Avalanche would most likely have to give to get Subban. Matt Duchene has already been linked to the Canadians in separate rumors, but I think I’ve been trying to engineer this trade in my head in a way that keeps Duchene around. But the only way I can think of that happening is if the Canadiens would have an interest in Tyson Barrie.

I go back and forth on whether that is likely. Half of me thinks that, if they were looking for an offensive defenseman, they would just keep the elite one instead of trading for a good one. But the other half of me thinks that they seem to have just a problem with Subban as a person as they do with his play. And they’re likely going to need to fill his gap, most likely with someone cheaper.

I’m going to leave my editor to speculate on what pieces would actually fill out this deal, because I’m terrible at evaluating the worth of draft picks.

Next: Nick Holden was Actually Pretty Good


I know it’s not likely to happen, but man would I love Subban on the team for all the reasons listed above. And we didn’t even talk about his skill! How he’s got a cannon of a shot, and great speed speed, can see the ice beautifully, hits hard, and is pretty solid defensively all at the same time! He’s a pretty complete player!

But the biggest reason I hope they get Subban is because something has got to change. GM Joe Sakic keeps saying the core can win, but at the end of the day, they’re not. And the core really hasn’t played hockey in a sustainable winning way since it’s gotten together. So the Avs can keep thinking their that one piece of the puzzle away, but in reality I think they need a shock.

And if PK Subban is nothing else it’s a shock.