I’ve always found it funny that on the same day the Oilers tried to upgrade their defense by trading Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson, a Norris Trophy winning defender in PK Subban was shipped off to Nashville. Subban, who was moved for Shea Weber, has been nothing but a consistent piece for a Nashville team that has contended since the day Subban arrived.
Unfortunately for the Preds, the salary cap is slated to catch up with them soon. That means tough decisions need to be made, and the PK Subban trade chatter has begun to pick up, just as it had in the spring of 2016.
Could the Predators move the talented and entertaining defender? Would Edmonton be interested? Would he fit what the Oil are trying to build?
Why Is He Out There?:
Nashville has already committed $79,775,000 to the roster for the upcoming season. I’m no math genius, but that’s a lot of money for a team hoping to add an impact forward. The Predators also need to take care of deadline acquisitions Brian Boyle and Wayne Simmonds or replace them.
Oh, and if that isn’t enough, the Predators need to worry about the contracts of Roman Josi, Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund next summer. No matter which way you slice things, some money needs to come off the books.
Subban, and his $9,000,000 AAV for the next three seasons, is a prime candidate.
What Does He Do Well?:
Honestly, what doesn’t Subban do well? He’s one of the most dynamic defenders in the NHL and possesses a skill set that is such a good fit for the direction of today’s game.
Subban has a bomb of a shot and is a proven weapon on the powerplay. His strong puck moving skills and offensive instincts make him a dangerous offensive player at five-on-five as well. Subban has the ability to both transport the puck up ice and deliver a crisp first pass to an attacking forward.
To be quite frank, the Oilers haven’t had a defender as capable as Subban when it comes to transition from defense to offense in the Connor McDavid era.
Subban posted 9-22-31 in 63 games for Nashville this past season. Although it was a down year for PK that included injury, Subban was still about a half point-per-game and was strong at five-on-five with six goals and 20 points for the Preds.
He averaged 22:40 per game, per hockey-reference, and posted a positive Corsi For %, clocking in at 53.4%. Subban’s Corsi For was positive in relation to his teammates (+3.9%) proving that the puck was generally going in the right direction when he was on the ice.
Here’s a look at the star’s scouting report via The Sports Forecaster.
Where Will He Play / Where Should He Play:
PK Subban is a top-pairing defender in the NHL. He’d be Edmonton’s best defender the second he arrived in town, no questions asked. Quite simply, he’d arrive in Edmonton and be the workhorse defender this club has been lacking for over a decade.
What Will He Cost?:
This is tricky, because the Oilers would need to shed salary in other deals to make it happen. Remember, Nashville is looking to add an impact forward this summer and the point to trading PK is to open up cap space.
If Nashville misses out on top target Matt Duchene, would they deal Subban to Edmonton for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and another asset? RNH isn’t the same player as Duchene, but he’s a proven top-six forward and would save the Preds $3,000,000 on the cap.
If Nashville is purely dumping Subban, Edmonton could offer the 8th overall pick in June’s draft and an assortment of prospects like Ethan Bear, William Lagesson and even Jesse Puljujarvi. That, of course, would require the Oilers to find another home for someone like Andrej Sekera and Milan Lucic’s anchor contract.
It’s a little complicated.
There are few players around the league that I enjoy watching more than Subban. His personality is second to none, his game is entertaining and, more importantly, he’s a dominant defender that fits Edmonton’s needs like a glove.
I’d be willing to pay a pretty high price to get Subban to Edmonton, and if there is a way then Ken Holland should seriously explore it this summer. Yes, the Oilers need wingers. They also need defenders that can actually move the puck to their elite forwards.
Is there anyone available via trade this summer that is better at that than Subban?