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Los Angeles vs. Montreal | December 10th, 2013 | 1900 EST
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With a Norris Trophy now on his resume, the expectations for P.K. Subban have never been higher. Despite an early contract holdout, Subban's point totals put him among the league's elite last season, and with contract negotiations pending, a repeat performance will be expected from all parties involved. Subban will have several incentives to silence his critics with a new contract looming and the opportunity to make Canada's Olympic team, so one can assume that P.K.'s efforts won't wane. With all eyes on the young defender, will P.K. be able to replicate his dominating season, or even improve upon his numbers?
Despite the lockout and missing the first six games of the season over a contract dispute, P.K. still managed to match his highest point totals. His 38 points tied him with Kris Letang for most points by a defenceman, and placed him second in team scoring, a single point behind Max Pacioretty. His seven powerplay points (one behind teammate Andrei Markov) tied him for 5th in the NHL. As previously mentioned, P.K. received top votes for the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the league's top defenceman, making him the first Montreal Canadiens to win the award since Chris Chelios in 1989.Season Stats: GP 42, G 11, A 27, PTS 38, +/- +12, PIM 57, PPG 7, SHG 0, GWG 0, SOG 126, ATOI 23:14
3 Year Averages(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13's numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
It can be safely assumed that Subban will be slotted in on Montreal's top pairing, and will likely see the most ice time of all of the Canadiens. He should be paired alongside Andrei Markov on the first powerplay unit, but with Alexei Emelin's rehabilitation, it is still unknown if P.K. will line up with Josh Gorges at even-strength. If so, Subban will again be counted upon to shut down the opposition's top forwards, and log major minutes. P.K. was used sparingly on the Canadiens' disastrous penalty kill last season; given its prior success with him on the shorthanded unit in previous seasons, one must wonder if Montreal's top defender will once again be used in this capacity.
With favourable powerplay time and above average minutes, P.K. will have ample opportunity to contribute significantly on the scoresheet. A multi-category beast, P.K. habitually puts up goals, assists, powerplay points, shots on net, penalty minutes and has earned a +21 rating over the past two seasons. If your league counts all of these categories, Subban could be considered a first round pick in all but the shallowest of leagues. In points-only leagues, Subban should still be one of the first defencemen taken, but only after elite forwards have been drafted.