On Wednesday afternoon, Nashville Predators general manager David Poile and Montreal Canadians general manager Marc Bergevin swapped a pair of All-Star defensemen. The Preds sent captain Shea Weber to Montreal for fan-favorite P.K. Subban.
The deal comes two days shy of NHL free agency opening up and days after the Habs traded for center Andrew Shaw, formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Poile said of Subban, “P.K. Subban is one of the best defensemen in the NHL…offensively, he’s an equal to Shea Weber.” Bergevin believes this tough move made his team better.
Subban, a former second round pick in the 2007, and made his NHL debut during the 2009-10 season. He scored 51 points in 68 games in what would be his last for the Canadians. He missed the last month of the season with a neck injury. The 27 year-old 278 points in 434 career games and won the Norris Trophy – awarded to the league’s top defenseman – in 2013.
Not only did he thrive on the ice, but in the community as well. He donated $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. He was loved by the fans, which made this move a litter tougher for Bergevin to pull the trigger on. There has been speculation of trading the All-Star defenseman, something Subban said he didn’t pay attention to. Now he will call Nashville home and is excited to help the Predators. He has six years remaining on his eight-year deal, where he gets paid $9 million through the 2021-22 season.
Shea Weber is only three years older than Subban and just as good. He was the captain of the Preds and scored 20 goals and 51 points in 78 regular season games. Of those 20 goals, 14 came on the power play, leading the NHL. He is also a former second round pick in 2003. He ranks second all-time in Nashville history in goals (166) and games played (763) while ranking third in points with 443. In 2012, Weber nearly became a member of the Philadelphia Flyers who offered him a 14-year, $110 million contract, but Nashville matched the offer sheet. He has 10 years remaining on that deal, so the Preds will get his services for at least another decade.
Weber is a four-time All-Star and was second in the Norris Trophy voting in 2012 and 2013. He is one of the best defensive players in the game who bring a ton of talent and experience north of the border.
While you can’t go wrong with either player, one team walked away slightly ahead of the other. The Predators got the better end of the deal because of a few factors. First, Subban is younger than Weber. Subban also has more upside, especially now that he has a fresh start in Nashville, a team he got to know a little bit over the All-Star break (held in Nashville). There really is no loser of this trade and it is one that could shake things up for both teams.