For the purpose of this thought exercise, let's assume we believe Patrick Marleau no longer wants to play in San Jose and that he's willing to go to the Canadiens. Neither of those even fog the mirror of being factual, but seeing as this is a hockey blog and not the Supreme Court, I think we can assume a couple of things for the next 300 words.
P.K. Subban has had a rough go of it in Montreal, largely because of racism. It's okay, you can say it too: The NHL has a race problem, the NHL has a race problem, the NHL has a race problem. The discussion on how to make the NHL more inclusive is a worthwhile one, but isn't the one I'm having today.
For reasons largely due to his race, Subban has been unilaterally criticized in Montreal — a city that really should have a better sense for why a team is good or not good. As it stands, Subban is being crucified by his objectively shitty coach and, for our lord Jesus Christ only knows what reason, Therrien is getting away with it. So, let's assume that Montreal is interested in trading Subban, too. At this point, it wouldn't surprise me.
All information comes from General Fanager, a great website.
Patrick Marleau: AAV of $6.66 million through the 2016-17 season.
P.K. Subban: AAV of $9 million through the 2021-22 season.
Subban is 26 years old, while Marleau is 36.
Assuming Montreal isn't quite stupid enough to make this trade straight up, the Sharks will need to sweeten the deal. My guess is it would take at least a young defender and a prospect, probably either Timo Meier or Nikolay Goldobin. Let's say it's Meier. This assumes a bit of desperation on the part of Montreal, but a team that has lost 26 of its last 34 and is letting Subban take the blame in the media is probably pretty desperate.
Patrick Marleau (AAV $6.66 million)
Brenden Dillon (AAV $3.27 million)
San Jose Gets:
P.K. Subban (AAV $9 million)
San Jose's cap goes down by $930,000. The Sharks may have to eat a little salary to make this work for Montreal, but that would be well worth it if the Habs were willing to accept this package.
Does This Trade Actually Work
For the Sharks? It damn well ought to. This would give the Sharks one of the top three defenders in the game under contract for years — keeping San Jose's window wide open even as Joe Thornton (and of course Patrick Marleau) depart.
For the Canadiens...well, it depends on where you think the minds of the Habs are on Feb. 18, 2016. They really shouldn't make this trade, but desperation combined with a dose of stupidity is all it takes for something like this to work out. Sure, Montreal gets the scoring they're looking for and perhaps they believe character is part of the assets being moved in this deal, but young, Norris defenders don't grow on trees.
Or, I don't think so, anyway.