The Washington Capitals have several needs right now. Arguably their most important one is shoring up their defense. If the Washington Capitals want to do that through free agency, the most attractive candidate is restricted free agent P.K. Subban. Subban currently plays for the Montreal Canadiens.
The Good About P.K. Subban
P.K. Subban is arguably one of the five best defenseman in the NHL. Not only does he score at an impressive rate (38 points in 2013, 53 points in 2013-2014), he is also very good defensively. Subban gets a reputation for being sub-par defensively, but I disagree. He’s only taken 45.5% of his faceoffs in the offensive zone, which is quite rare for somebody with Subban’s reputation. Usually offensive defensemen take a majority of their faceoffs in the offensive zone. He’s also trusted a lot in close situations. His 50.0% 5v5 Close Situation Corsi percentage might seem a bit low, but it is high compared to the rest of his teammates. I could write a book on how awesome P.K. Subban is according to advanced stats, but here’s his Extra Skater page.
P.K. Subban is just 24 years old, which suggests that he still has room to grow. That’s pretty scary if you think about it.
The Bad About P.K. Subban
I believe that there is only one issue with signing P.K. Subban: his price. Not only would it take a huge offer sheet to get him from Montreal, it would also cost the Washington Capitals quite a few draft picks. Let’s use Shea Weber as an example. The Philadelphia Flyers submitted a 14 year, $110,000,000 offer sheet for him when he was an RFA. That averages out to an average annual value (AAV) of $7,857,143 (rounded up to the nearest dollar). If the Capitals submitted the same offer sheet for P.K. Subban, they would have to give up two first round picks, a second round pick, and a third round pick to the Canadiens if the Canadiens decided not to match. If the AAV of the offer sheet is over $8,410,976, the compensation rises to four first round picks.
My Take On P.K. Subban
I’d definitely at least try to get P.K. Subban if I were the Capitals. I am usually not for signing other teams’ RFAs due to the compensation costs, but someone like Subban would have to be considered an exception. It would cost a lot to sign him because the Canadiens have a ton of money to burn. Because of this, the Capitals would have to get very creative, much like the Flyers when they attempted to sign Weber, in order to create an offer that would be extremely difficult for the Canadiens to match.
There are very few players who I would give up four first round picks for. P.K. Subban is one of them. I think that the Washington Capitals should definitely make a run at Subban. At worst, they could force the Montreal Canadiens to spend a lot of money to keep Subban.
As always, let me know what you think on the poll and in the comments!