This trade will be talked about for years to come. When news broke that PK Subban had been traded to the Nashville Predators straight up for Shea Weber, many Montreal fans were outraged. This is not meant to devalue Weber, who is a very good defenceman in his own right but the fact that Montreal traded their star defenceman and appear convinced the team is better with Weber is insane.
PK Subban vs. Shea Weber
On the surface, Subban and Weber post very similar offensive numbers as both put up 51 points this past season. However, the underlying numbers tell a different story. Subban’s numbers are better than Weber’s when it comes to puck possession and generating offense while Subban is also very underrated defensively. In the chart below, it shows that Subban is better in every area than Weber with the exception of goal scoring production per 60 minutes and in many of the categories, it’s not even close.
— Hoop Informatics (@HoopInformatics) June 30, 2016
In Weber’s case he does bring offense, physicality and leadership to the table. He is excellent on the power play, an area where Montreal needs a boost. He also brings a physical edge to his game and will certainly be there if an opposing player gets too close to Carey Price. Weber was Nashville’s captain since 2010 and won the Mark Messier Leadership Award at the 2016 NHL Awards.
However, his game is on the decline. He didn’t look good during the 2016 playoffs and players who play that hard physical style tend to see their bodies break down faster especially with the amount of minutes Weber plays. Weber certainly has some good years left ahead of him but Subban is four years younger and in his prime.
Why Trade PK?
As much as Subban will be missed on the ice, he will be sorely missed off of it in the Montreal community. His $10 million donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital firmly cemented his love for the city of Montreal and his willingness to help others in need. As much as Subban was villainized at times, much of it was undeserved as he never ran into trouble with the law or did anything to drag the team’s reputation through the mud.
This is a trade that will define the Bergevin era. Former Montreal GM Rejean Houle will forever be the one who traded away a star goalie in Patrick Roy while a mediocre coach in Mario Tremblay remained in place. That move feels eerily similar to this one as Subban was the one to go while Michel Therrien stays.
Bergevin has been loyal to Therrien since day one but has never shown that kind of support for Subban. Perhaps Montreal management thought Subban was a distraction with his flashy personality and busy off- ice lifestyle. Management has shown a preference for low key personalities and for them, Weber fits that bill.
A Step Backwards
If Weber can help deliver a Stanley Cup to Montreal, the sting will ease a little for Montreal fans. but losing an elite defenceman and fan favourite that donated $10 million to the hospital will stick with fans for years. Subban brought an electrifying presence on and off the ice and he will be missed in Montreal. For whatever reason, there was always a disconnect between him and management despite Subban being a great player and a model citizen in the community. No doubt Subban will be a big influence in the city of Nashville but there is a good chance Montreal will want a do-over on this trade.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ryerson University. I am a freelance journalist and a Montreal Canadiens writer for The Hockey Writers. I previously wrote for Simcoe.com and Last Word on Sports as well as interned at TSN.