The Montreal Canadiens and restricted free agent defenceman P.K. Subban appear no closer to agreeing on a new contract, and as the club continues to play games without one of their top blueliners, the possibility of the club trading Subban if they can't sign him is becoming a point of conversation.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, speaking during The Quiz on the NHL on TSN on Wednesday night, was asked if the Canadiens will eventually sign or trade their prized rearguard.
"I think it's ultimately heading toward a trade," said McKenzie. "They're just too far apart on the term of the contract - P.K. wants long, the Canadiens want two years - and they're probably at least $2.5 to $3 million per year apart on where they want to be. Ultimately I think this ends up in a trade."
Since the lockout ended, Subban has said several times that he is committed to working out a deal and staying with the Canadiens.
Speaking to the Montreal Gazette in Thursday's edition, Subban confirmed his desire to stay with the team, but said that economics do play into the situation.
"It's come down to this - I want to be paid what I'm worth," Subban told Gazette columnist Dave Stubbs. "I don't even know what to think any more," he said. "At this point, you have to remain optimistic (and realize) it is a business, and a lot of things can happen.
"I hope (a trade) is not the case. I want to play for the Canadiens. I want to help the team. With the young players we have in the organization right now, we still have a great opportunity to win. But for my style of game and for what I do for the team, the amount of minutes I play and for what I bring to the table, I have to be fairly compensated."
The 23-year-old played the most minutes per game of any Habs defenceman last season, and is also one of the most marketable of the team's players. He is often featured alongside goalie Carey Price in team marketing campaigns.
"I didn't expect this to be an all P.K. parade. I didn't expect everyone to jump on my bandwagon to give me whatever I want," Subban said. "It's business and I understand that. But I've accomplished a lot in two years. If I hadn't, we wouldn't be talking, would we? This thing probably would have been over long ago.
"I've accomplished a lot for someone who's only 23. I'm playing in one of the best markets in the NHL. To me, it seems like a pretty easy situation: you have a guy who wants to be there, for a long time, who actually thrives on playing in the pressure of Montreal. I don't think there could be any more pressure than what I've had playing here the last two years.
Subban was asked by the Gazette if he could see himself playing for another team.
"From a business standpoint, I'm sure there are other teams where I could fit in and be a big part of things moving forward, give them a chance to win," explained Subban. "But ultimately, deep down inside, I want to play for the Montreal Canadiens.
"I want to be a big part of them. It's my bloodline. That's all I knew growing up. My dad was the biggest Habs fan. And I think that's something you don't let go."
So we turn to you with the same question: What should the Canadiens ultimately do with P.K. Subban - sign him long-term, or trade him?
It's Your! Call.