The hockey world was in for a real treat when two NHL superstars were dealt. In a blockbuster deal, the Nashville Predators traded captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban. Here is the trade analysis.
To Nashville: P.K. Subban
Contract details: $9M AAV until 2021-2022 with a NMC starting in 2016-2017.
As most hockey fans know, Subban is one of the most explosive and exciting defenseman to watch. The way he controls the play is simply outstanding. However, being fancy doesn’t always work out for Subban, as he often turns the puck over for trying to do too much and it eventually costs his team. This season, he lead the NHL in turnovers and only scored 6 goals, his lowest total since the 2011-2012 season. He still managed to put up a solid 51 points in 68 games played.
Subban played 26 minutes a game on average. He also had the privilege of playing with 37-year-old Andrei Markov and would ultimately pay the price if he got caught in the offensive zone. For all the advanced stats geeks out there, Subban has had high corsi and fenwick his entire career, including this season where he stood at 52.8% and 51.7% in those respective categories. The team controls the puck a lot more when Subban is on the ice.
The Nashville Predators are acquiring a 27-year-old defenseman entiring his prime. He is most likely going to play with emerging star Roman Josi and will be able to play his game without being criticized by Michel Therrien.
Here is a chart comparing the impact at even strength between Subban and Weber.
To Montreal: Shea Weber
Contract details:$7,857,142M AAV until 2025-2026
Everyone knows about Shea Weber, his big slap shot has been terrorizing goalies for years, he’s been a leader on the Predators and a key performer for Team Canada. This past season, Weber had 51 points (20 goals) in 78 games. He is a powerplay quarterback and a great defensive player. However, Weber has been playing the past seasons alongside Roman Josi, a very agile defenseman capable of making up for any mistake Weber makes. This isn’t to say Weber is bad, he is still a very good defenseman, but age is slowly catching up to him and he was a liability in the playoffs last season. Now he is going to play with a defenseman who is far from Josi’s level. At 30 years of age, Weber’s contract expires when he will be 40, this deal isn’t going to look good in 2 or 3 years when he is going to decline.
Weber’s corsi and fenwick numbers have just been above 50%, but were low between the 2011 and 2014 seasons. Nashville has a better offensive core than Montreal and that could be a downside for Weber. Montreal doesn’t move the puck as well as Nashville and it could hurt Weber’s point production at even strength.
Nashville is the winner in this deal, they traded for a younger defenseman entering his prime and got rid of a contract that would have hurt them a lot down the road. Long-term, this is a better deal for Nashville simply due to Weber’s age and contract situation. Montreal didn’t trade for Shea Weber in his prime, they trade for him at age 30 to 40, which isn’t going to look good in the future.
In the end, this was a clash of personalties between a sensational star and management, Nashville should embrace Subban with open arms.