In the most shocking trade of the NHL offseason, the Nashville Predators traded their captain, defenseman Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens. In return, the Preds received Montreal’s alternate captain P.K. Subban. The move has sent shockwaves throughout the NHL community.
In his time in Nashville, Shea Weber has become the face of the franchise for the Predators. In his 11 seasons at Bridgestone Arena, Weber has almost all the offensive records for defensemen in franchise history. He has scored 179 goals and tallied 292 assists in his Predator career. A five-time All-Star, Weber is also the two-time defending Hardest Shot award winner and recently won the Mark Messier Leadership Award. He has been the captain for the Predators since 2010, the longest-serving captain in Nashville history.
In return, the Predators have added one of the best skaters and most exciting players in the NHL in P.K. Subban. While Subban gives up 4 inches and 30 pounds to Weber, he is a faster skater and 4 years younger than Weber. Over his eight seasons in Montreal, Subban has scored 74 goals and has had 242 assists. Subban has been to multiple All-Star games and won the Norris Trophy in 2013, which goes to the best defensemen in the NHL. Subban’s current contract still goes through 2022. Beyond his on-ice skills, Subban also brings a bright personality, which was most recently on display at the Breakaway Contest at this past year’s NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, which he won.
Predators’ General Manager David Poile told local sports talk hosts that the trade came over the last four days, with the initial contact coming at last Friday’s NHL Draft in Buffalo. Poile said, “P.K. Subban is an elite offensive defenseman with tremendous skill and contagious energy that makes the Nashville Predators a better team now and into the future. Superstar defensemen of his caliber are a rare commodity, and we are thrilled to add him to the organization.”
As with the midseason trade with Columbus of Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen, this trade seems to benefit both teams. For the Canadiens, defense-minded coach Michel Therrien adds a traditional, old-school defensemen in Weber. The Predators get a defensemen to better fit into Peter Laviolette’s high-powered offense. In addition, the top four defensemen for the Preds – Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm – are 27 or younger.
While this trade comes as a shock and has gotten emotional response from fans, the trade will likely benefit both teams. After looking a bit slow against San Jose, the addition of speed certainly looks to help the Preds get over the hump to the Western Conference Finals. After the trade, Subban excitedly said that he feels “a whole lot closer” to winning a Stanley Cup.