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Canadiens GM insists P.K. Subban not shopped, despite teams' pursuit

BUFFALO, NY – Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin rolled his eyes and tossed his head back when asked what it would take for him to trade star defenseman P.K. Subban. 

“I wouldn’t even want to go there,” he said.

“You never say never. If someone offered me half of their team, you know, you gotta make it work. But it’s not my intention.”

Yet the chatter continued, and intensified, at the NHL Draft in Buffalo. That the Canadiens are “open” to the possibility of trading him. That, according to former Hab Georges Laraque, the Canadiens actually did some negotiating with the Edmonton Oilers about Subban, asking for center Leon Draisaitl and the No. 4 overall pick for him.

Bergevin downplayed the idea that anything was in the works now for Subban, whose full no-move clause kicks in on July 1, a deadline that’s been the catalyst for much of this trade scuttlebutt.

“It’s not even listening to offers. It’s taking calls,” he said. “When a GM calls me, I don’t know what he’s calling me about. So I answer the phone. Yes, I’ve received calls on P.K. But I’m not shopping P.K. Subban, I can tell you that.”

How long are these conversations?

“They’re pretty short,” said Bergevin.

Is it realistic that a P.K. Subban trade could happen this summer?

“I would say no.”

Bergevin said that other GMs are just doing their due diligence, as he has in the past as well. There were players he’s called about, he said, that he was “99.9 percent sure” would not be moving.

So the other general managers call him, and he says “no.” Do they call back?

“They call back and I say ‘no no,’” he said.

Here’s where it gets a little odd. So these general managers are calling him up, and he’s saying “no,” and they call back, and he says “no” again. And yet when it comes to declaring that Subban is off the market, that he’ll be a Canadien next season, Bergevin dodged the opportunity, referring to earlier answers about him not “realistically” moving instead of saying, "yes, P.K. Subban will be in Montreal next year."

If these general managers are going to keep calling after hearing “no” on the phone, they’ll probably keep calling after Subban’s declared off the market that Bergevin alleges he’s not even on at the moment.

But there is no declaration. That’s why the door remains open. That’s why the chatter remains murmuring around the draft.

I don’t believe the Canadiens are shopping Subban. I believe Bergevin when he says he’s listening. They like Subban. They’d like to keep Subban. But they’re open to hearing how much another team like the Edmonton Oilers likes him, too.

One thing Bergevin made clear: That the talk of Subban not “fitting in” with Canadiens culture isn’t a factor here.

“No issue with having a bit more personality,” he said. “No issues with what he does. He wears the clothes closest to mine. Maybe a bit more colorful.”

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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