As Subban shines, his price tag increases

P.K. Subban has helped the Montreal Canadiens once again top the Eastern Conference. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has an appreciation for hockey history -- especially Montreal’s. A recent playoff point streak put his name in the team record books next to Larry Robinson, and he was genuinely honored to hear their names mentioned together.

In his words, it was an honor and privilege.

Subban also understands how to cement his place among the Montreal greats. It isn't with individual awards or highlight reel plays. It’s playing the right way in the biggest moments. Focus on the team’s success, he’s pointed out, and individual recognition comes with it.

Tonight, in Game 7, there’s opportunity for Subban to leave his biggest imprint yet on this historic franchise. A chance to move his team one step closer to the heights this franchise regularly competed.

That’s his focus. Achieving it comes with an added bonus this offseason.

It hasn't even been two years since he signed the two-year, $5.75 million bridge contract with the Canadiens, but so much has changed since then.

He’s helped return this proud franchise back to one of the best in the Eastern Conference, as tonight’s game indicates. He’s won a Norris Trophy. He’s erased most of the criticism about the way he plays, and he gains admirers with each impressive postseason performance he turns in. Those performances are happening almost nightly.

“He’s become committed,” said former Boston Bruins assistant coach Craig Ramsay, who has been watching this series closely. “In order to be a good defenseman, you have to be able to pay a nasty price at times. There’s a real value to it. Subban is playing with courage.