June 2016… a few days after the NHL Draft, a date when many of the NHL’s trades usually occur. Yet, there was a 20 minutes span that shocked the hockey world. While everyone was wondering if Steven Stamkos would sign with the Leafs or stay put in Tampa Bay, four other teams sent shockwaves throughout the league. First, reports came out of Edmonton to the effect that the Oilers had traded former first overall pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson. Minutes later, Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos shocked the Twitter world by announcing that the Canadiens had traded P.K. Subban for Shea Weber. Not to be outdone, TSN insider Bob McKenzie soon after announced that Stamkos would stay with the Lightning.
The Hall/Larsson trade was big. But the one that rocked the hockey world was Montreal and Nashville swapping stud defensemen. And that’s when the Subbanistas saw the light of day. No need to rehash, we all know the reactions around Montreal, or the overreaction that seems to be following fans in that City when something happens that they disagree with. We saw it when the Habs selected Jesperi Kotkaniemi, we saw it when they traded away Alex Galchenyuk to get Max Domi. But some of us knew that this trade with Nashville was not only inevitable, but it made a whole lot of sense for the Canadiens and it is proving to be a great deal for Bergevin and the Habs, as is the Domi acquisition.
As you see, the Preds have paid the big price Subban while he played himself into the fourth defenseman role in Nashville, behind Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm, forcing Nashville to basically give him away to the New Jersey Devils for 2 lower end prospects and a couple of second round picks.
Taking into consideration that Weber, who was the Preds’ captain at the time of the trade, was named team captain of his new team and is often referred to the ultimate leader by his teammates, and that he missed a full calendar year (80 games) before coming back strong last season, it’s easy to see who has won that trade. Most people who were vocal against the trade back then have since publicly stated having changed their mind, at least those for whom pride doesn’t get in the way. But unfortunately, while their group gets smaller, the Subbanistas’ pride has reached the level of the Snowflakes and admitting that they were wrong is not, nor will it ever be in their vocabulary. Fortunately for the rest of us though, most Habs’ fans are more level-headed than that. We will keep on enjoying the better player captaining our own favourite team. Go Habs Go!