The Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for blueliner Shea Weber.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scarcely minutes after the hockey world heard the Edmonton Oilers dealt Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson, the Canadiens trumped that by shipping Subban to the Predators for Weber.
This move isn’t going to sit well with Canadiens fans. Subban, 27, won the Norris Trophy in 2013 and a finalist in 2015. He was the Habs most popular player and among the NHL’s top blueliners. He’s an exciting, dynamic player very much in his playing prime.
Weber, the former captain of the Predators, is among the league’s most-respected blueliners. He has a big shot, plays a strong physical game and brings veteran leadership to the Habs. Weber was a finalist several times for the Norris and played for Canada’s two Olympic gold-medal winning men’s hockey teams in 2010 and 2014.
However, there’s concern over how much Weber has in the tank. While only three years older than Subban, over the past two years he started to show the wear and tear of his 11 NHL campaigns.
While the Canadiens are getting back another first-pairing defenseman in Weber, the Predators are getting the better of the deal. Subban will mesh well with the Predators, particularly with forwards Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen. If Weber’s best seasons are indeed behind him, the Canadiens could end up paying for this move for years.
Contract-wise, the deal also favors the Predators. Weber has ten years left on a $110 million contract with a $7.85 million cap hit. Subban is entering the third year of an eight year, $72 million deal worth an annual cap hit of $9 million. While the Habs free up some salary cap space, they’ll be on the hook for Weber’s deal until he’s past 40.
And if he retires before then, they’ll be hit with a salary-cap recapture penalty. I stand corrected regardling the cap recapture penalties. It’s the Preds on the hook if Weber retires early, not the Habs.