Should the Montreal Canadiens appear in front of an arbitrator on Friday, they will have the unenviable task of making a case against the value of P.K. Subban.
The Norris Trophy-winning defenceman is a restricted free agent coming off a two-year bridge deal worth $5.75 million and is looking at a sizable raise in the neighbourhood of the NHL's elite defenders.
What general manager Marc Bergevin must do (hypothetically for the time being, unless a deal is signed) is come up with a list of knocks against his No. 1 defender in order to determine a fair price.
Subban has already made his case to be considered among the NHL's elite defenceman. He won the Norris Trophy in 2013, an Olympic gold medal at the Sochi Olympic Games in February and is an offensive threat every time he hits the ice.
The question is, what can the Canadiens say about Subban in arbitration that would keep the price south of the elite-level salary he would likely fetch on the open market?
When Subban won the Norris in 2013, he did so after just 48 games (42 played of 48, actually) due to the lockout. Could the Canadiens argue that a strong 'half' season is not enough time to crown a player among the game's elite?
Subban tied for the league lead in scoring among defenceman with 38 points - 26 coming on the power play - and finished second in goals and third in assists. By comparison, when Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson won the Norris in 2012 he did so by outscoring his counterparts by 25 points and leading defenders in both goals and assists.
OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL
Subban was a constant topic of discussion leading up to the selection of Canada's men's Olympic hockey team for Sochi and throughout the early stages of the tournament as well.
As Team Canada searched for offence in the group stage, many wondered whether it was time to inject a full dose of the electric Subban into the lineup.
The verdict? Subban played one game and Canada shut down opponent after opponent en route to a second straight gold medal.
His selection is a boost, but does his contribution, or lack thereof, hurt the cause?
P.K. THE SCORER
Subban is an exciting player with a stellar combination of size, speed and creativity. His biggest assets come on the offensive side of the puck, and more particularly the power play.
He has 167 points in 284 career games, giving him the third best points per game average (.588) among active players behind Sergei Gonchar (.636) and Mike Green (.626) and tied with Dan Boyle.
His high-risk, high-reward style has burned the Habs on occasion in the past, but does his production outweigh a few bad plays?
As mentioned, it's an ugly part of the business when a team has to give reasons why one of its stars is not worth a particular amount of money.
But since it has to be done, the question remains. What evidence, if any, can the Canadiens use in arbitration to make Subban's payday more reasonable for the club?
As always, it's Your! Call.