Just days after securing 21-year old phenom Filip Forsberg for six more years, the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens have shocked the hockey world by swapping All-Star defensemen Shea Weber and PK Subban.
Weber, 30, is a three-time Norris Trophy finalist and a four-time All-Star. The Sicamous, British Columbia native was drafted by the Preds back in 2003 and spent the entirety of his professional career in the Nashville organization. He is the all-time franchise leader among defensemen in goals (166), assists (277) and points (443). Weber has played more games (763) in a Preds sweater than anyone except original draft pick David Legwand.
Subban won the Norris Trophy in 2013 but was rumored on the way out of Montreal throughout much of last year. The former Belleville Bull rearguard was chosen 43rd overall in 2007 by the Habs and has one of the most dynamic personalities you’ll find in pro sports.
“They were a pretty good looking with Shea Weber but I think they got a whole lot better looking now,” Subban joked on the conference call. “We might have the best looking d-corps in the League.”
In addition to his tremendous play on the ice, Subban is gracious off of it. Just last year, he donated $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Subban, 27, is now the oldest of Nashville’s top four defensemen.
The Toronto, Ontario native is signed through the 2021-22 season ($9 million/year) and has a no-trade clause that was supposed to kick in July 1. As Yahoo! Sports’ Joshua Cooper points out, that would have made a deal more difficult.
Montreal went just 38-38-6 last season, a single year removed from going 50-22-10 and finishing three points back from the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best team. In those two years, Subban amassed 111 points.
“I’m a General Manager but someday I would like to be a fan,” David Poile said. “This is a guy that I would pay money to see. He’s exciting to watch. He does something every game. He competes every game. He shows up every game. I think it’s going to be dynamic.”
The Predators lost to the eventual champion Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs two seasons ago and then to the eventual Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks a few months ago. Needless to say, Nashville has its eyes on a parade while Montreal seems to be as successful as their best player — goaltender Carey Price — can take them.
“I just look forward to trying to win a Stanley Cup,” Subban said. “That’s your ultimate goal and I feel that I got a whole lot closer to doing that.”
Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin says Poile came to him during the draft this past weekend.
“Nashville contacted me for the first time on Friday in Buffalo,” Bergevin told the media. “They caught my attention when they mentioned Weber.”
“I think it’s fair to say that it caught both of our attentions that it would be a possibility,” David Poile said during his press conference. “We talked Monday afternoon and we talked several times since until we made the deal. I’m sure when I say it was a hard deal for us to make, I would say equally it’s got to be a hard deal for them to make. A 27-year old player that’s won the Norris Trophy and plays the way he does.”
If this blockbuster deal wasn’t enough, Steven Stamkos resigned with the Tampa Bay Lightning instead of testing free agency and Edmonton Oilers center Taylor Hall was sent to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson. All three notable transactions took place in the same 15 minute window.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua