The P.K. Subban-for-Shea Weber trade was arguably the biggest transaction of the summer. Both cities of Montreal and Nashville had a hard time coming to grips with the reality that both all-star defensemen were on their way out of town, but the trade is finally starting to look like a win-win for both sides. Weber has been dominant in Montreal, and though he took a bit more time to settle into the Music City, Subban is back to playing the game the way we’re used to seeing him play. It took a while to find his groove, but it looks like P.K. Subban has finally found his step in Nashville.
A Scary October
Subban’s first month in Nashville was a bit of a bumpy road, not necessarily just for him, but the Predators team altogether. The Preds started the season with a 2-5-1 record, oftentimes struggling to score, and other times fighting to keep the puck out of their own net. Subban himself had a fairly productive October however, recording five points in eight games, netting two goals in those eight contests. That blistering one-timer never seemed to go away.
It was his defensive flaws that started raising eyebrows across the city though, as he is regarded to be one the top defensemen in the league and able to move the puck out of his end with ease, taking care of home first. Unfortunately the month of October saw Subban settle for a minus-7 rating, and he wasn’t playing the strong all-around game that we’ve seen from him in the past. Whether it was him struggling to fit in at first, or simply not being able to pick it up after a long summer, Subban was not where he needed to be to start the season.
A New Nashville November
November has seen Subban step up, and you can tell that he is finally settling into the city of Nashville and the Predators’ system through his composure and confidence on the ice. Subban has three goals, 10 points, and is a plus-1 in the 14 games that Nashville played this last month. The Toronto-native has also managed a Corsi-for percentage (CF%) of 52.6%, possession numbers that we’re used to seeing from the skilled blueliner, and something the Preds must be ecstatic to finally have.
P.K. is finally making those first passes out of the Predators’ own zone and leading the charge up ice, resulting in more scoring opportunities for the Preds and less time being spent in their own territory. With Pekka Rinne playing the way he is and posting insane numbers in net, if the Preds can spend a good amount of the game playing on the attack then they will have no problem winning games, which they’re rapidly starting to pile up now. Subban is leading the rearguard’s efforts, and it couldn’t come at a better time going into December and moving past the quarter mark of the season.
Now that Subban has shaken the cobwebs loose, you can only imagine what he and the Preds have in store for us. His confidence is soaring and it’s reflecting in his play. He’s cool, he’s calm, and he’s fully embracing being a Nashville Predator as well as a leader on their back-end. He’s won over the trust of coach Peter Laviolette, and he’s seen 52.8% of his starts come in the defensive zone as a result. His defensive game is rounding out, and he’s always possessed ridiculous offensive skill. I think we’re about to see a side of P.K. Subban that we’ve never seen before, a P.K. Subban that could be playing the best hockey of his life very, very soon.
4th year Sport Management student at Brock University.