P.K. Subban is on the move, as the Nashville Predators have traded their All-Star defenseman to the New Jersey Devils. In return, the Predators will receive defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, along with second round draft picks in 2019 and 2020. (Note: Nashville later traded the 2019 second rounder to the Flyers for two additional picks in this years’ draft)
Subban has three years remaining on his contract, which carries with it a $9 million salary cap hit per season. Nashville will not retain any of this money, which likely makes cap-clearing a primary motivator in this deal. It would not surprise many to see this money go towards a contract extension for captain Roman Josi, or perhaps a run at a free agent like Matt Duchene. Nashville hopes to reload coming off a disappointing first-round exit in the playoffs back in April, and cap space is crucial to this process.
In Santini and Davies, the Predators gain some depth at the blueline. Santini has 114 games under his belt across 4 seasons with the Devils. He tallied 1 goal and 3 assists last season in 39 games. Davies is a prospect with no NHL experience since being drafted in 2016 out of Northeastern University.
A revamped Devils roster
The Devils, on the other hand, gain a former Norris trophy winner who is considered one of the top offensive-defensemen in the game. Injuries limited Subban to 63 games last season. He scored 9 goals and tallied 22 assists. As long as he remains healthy, Subban projects to be the clear number-one defenseman on the Devils’ roster. His average time on ice last season (22:40) was the lowest it has been since 2011, but will likely see an uptick to some degree. Subban should also greatly improve the efficiency of a mediocre power-play (ranked 21st last season).
The Devils also bolstered their roster this weekend with the selection of center Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in the draft. If they end up signing a contract extension with star forward Taylor Hall, the Devils could find themselves with a highly-talented core for years to come.