We are fast approaching the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster deal that sent Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for their then-captain Shea Weber, and, like with most trades, the ‘who won the trade?’ debate immediately followed.
In the aftermath of the move, the Predators were the early favourites to come out on top considering that Weber is nearly four years Subban’s senior. But after Weber started lighting the lamp on a regular basis during the season and Subban struggled with injury, the jury went back to deliberation. Weber ended the regular season with 17 goals, while Subban played just 66 games. Both finished within two points of each other, but Weber edged out Subban with 42.
Now, after the Predators reached the Western Conference Final after the Canadiens suffered a first-round exit, the debate is swinging back to Nashville’s side, and doing so rather aggressively.
“As much as there was a debate when that trade went down — P.K. for Weber — in that this could work out for Montreal, Weber is a good culture guy and all that,” said Dan Riccio on The Sportsnet Hot Stove. “It’s certainly coming to the forefront now, and it should have been known earlier than this, that the trade is really swinging heavily in Nashville’s favour. Not because they are in the Western Conference Final, but because Montreal has a severely declining asset on their hands who is signed for a longer term than P.K. Subban is.
“That trade in the long run is going to be an absolute disaster for the Habs.”
Weber singed a massive contract back in July of 2012 when he inked a 14-year deal worth $110,000,000 — an average of $7.8 million per year. Subban signed a large contract of his own in 2014 that results in a larger cap hit but for a shorter term. His eight-year $72 million contract was made in 2014 and carries an annual average of $9 million.
Player for player, the two teams are getting similar value. Sure, they bring different things to the table, but they are both superstar players that can really benefit both clubs. On the business side, it was a numbers trade of less cap hit for longer term.
And that’s when it looks like the Predators will win in the long run.
When Subban’s deal concludes at the end of the 2021-22 season, the Canadiens will still have 36-year-old Weber with four more years on his contract. Considering an argument can be made that the Predators have already won the trade, imagine what that argument will sound like in five years when they have the choice to move on from Subban while the Canadians are still stuck with an ageing $7 million defenceman on their books.
But wouldn’t it just be the icing on the Subban-cake if he managed to win his first cup less than a year he was shipped out of Montreal?
“I’m already seeing the visual of P.K. bringing the Stanley Cup back to Montreal during the offseason, and with a wry smile saying, ‘Hey, I promised you I was going to bring a Cup to Montreal. I finally brought it,'” said Donnovan Bennett on The Sportsnet Hot Stove.