When it became clear the Canadiens were not prepared to do such a thing, the situation got messy -- and not necessarily between the two sides engaged in the negotiations. As the contract talks spilled into the season, speculation rose that Subban had played his final game in a Montreal sweater.
Some questioned his character and abilities as a player.
In an exclusive interview with Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Subban stated that he paid attention to everything that was said and has been using it as motivation. Now that the 23-year-old is producing at a point per game pace, much of the turmoil from the negotiations has been replaced with praise.
Still, Subban hasn't forgot what was said about him, via Sportsnet:
"It's very easy now for people to speak positively about our team and about my situation because of the way we've played this season. But I don't forget the people that said that I'll never play in a Habs jersey again or that I'm selfish or that I'm greedy or that I'm confused. I'm thinking I'm a lot better than what I actually am.
In a nutshell, Subban summarized the development of a narrative.
Considering the Canadiens are five points back of first place in the Eastern Conference and he is producing at a rapid rate, nobody talks about the issues raised earlier in the year. Of course, that likely wouldn't be the case if the team was in the same position as last season (last place) and Subban was in the midst of a drought.
If that was the scenario playing out, theories would be developed about distractions early in the year or a lack of training camp or something.
Subban is aware of this and knows things can change quickly:
"Everybody is singing the same tune right now, but I know what tune they'll be singing if I'm not in the best position of if I'm not playing well or if I'm not in the lineup."
Instead, some are wondering if Montreal might have made a mistake by not signing him to a long-term deal because he will command that much more in the next round of negotiations.
Through 34 games this season, Subban has collected 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points. Entering competition on Friday night, he leads all defenseman in goals and points, in addition to ranking third in assists.