With a new long-term contract and training camp within sight, Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban is ready to get started on the new NHL season.
Speaking to the media at Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien's charity golf tournament, Subban addressed his recent arbitration hearing and contract negotiations leading up to his new eight-year, $72 million deal.
"I'm just happy to be here long term, and I know they're very happy to have me," he told reporters.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin and owner Geoff Molson were under fire during the off-season for what seemed to be a long road towards signing the 25-year-old to a long-term deal. Now that the deal is done, the young veteran defencemen is sticking up for the management team.
"It was a very healthy process for me," he explained. "There were no negatives with this process. I think it was a little bit unsettling to hear some of the things that were said about management and Marc during the process.
"I understand, but it was still disturbing for me. At this point in time I think everyone needs to look at the fact that the deal is done, I'm here for a long time and it doesn't matter how the process happened."
The Canadiens and Subban's camp met for their arbitration hearing on August 1 in Toronto. Both sides voiced their arguments to an appointed arbitrator in a four-hour session.
From the end of the hearing, the arbitrator was given 48 hours to reach her decision. The Canadiens and Subban had until a decision was announced to sign a new contract, otherwise the arbitration contract would have been binding and the two sides could not negotiate a new deal until January 1.
"I understand when it's me it's a little more magnified," Subban continued. "That's okay, but at the end of the day the fans of Montreal and the community here should be happy with Marc Bergevin and Geoff Molson and how they've conducted themselves not only with me, but with players that have signed long term deals. It's always first class, they've done it the right way, and I'm just happy to be here long term."
Since the departure of former captain Brian Gionta to the Buffalo Sabres in the off-season, there's been much debate over who will be named the 34th captain in franchise history. Subban's name is one that surfaces the most, but the 2013 Norris Trophy winner wants it to be known that each of his teammates bring different leadership skills to the table.
"When you look at our team everyone leads in a different way," he said. "But the cool thing about our team is that we have a lot of guys that are different leaders who have stepped up at different points in the season, and over the years."
Lars Eller, fresh off signing a new four-year deal in July also weighed in on the captaincy debate.
"I don't really see it that way as one guy replacing another guy," he told reporters at Therrien's golf tournament. "We have a lot of leaders in the room and together we're going to fill those shoes."