Marc Bergevin pulled off a shocking blockbuster trade just two days before the start of the free agency period, dealing P.K. Subban to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber.
The deal represents a swap of two of the highest paid defencemen in the NHL. The 26 year old Subban has six years left at $9 million on his contract while Weber, 30, has a whopping 10 years left with a cap hit just shy of $7.9 million.
Weber has long been viewed as one of the more dominant defencemen in the league and has consistently been one of the more dangerous offensive threats. Last year in 78 games, he had 20 goals and 31 assists with the Predators while adding 3 goals and 4 helpers in 14 postseason contests. He averaged 25:22 per night in the regular season and 27:09 in the playoffs.
For his career, Weber has played in 763 games, scoring 166 goals and 277 assists. He also has suited up in 59 playoff games, picking up 13 goals and 15 assists. He led the NHL in goals by defencemen in both 2011-12 and 2013-14.
Weber is a five time NHL All-Star and has been named to the NHL’s first All-Star team twice and second team twice as well. He also recently won the Mark Messier Leadership Award. He’s also a two time Olympic Gold Medallist with Canada.
Subban has been one of the most popular Habs in recent memory. His enthusiasm on and off the ice was adored by many while his recent $10 million commitment to the Montreal Children’s Hospital will ensure his legacy with the city continues for quite some time.
Last year, Subban played in 68 games with the Habs before suffering a neck injury that cost him the rest of the season, one he is fully recovered from since. He picked up 6 goals and 45 assists with his goal total being the lowest of his career. He also played a career high 26:21 per game. In his career, Subban has 63 goals and 215 assists in 434 NHL games plus 11 goals and 27 helpers in 55 postseason contests.
Weber’s contract qualifies for salary cap recapture for the Preds due to the heavily front-loaded nature of his contract, originally signed back in 2010. That would only come into play if he retires prior to the end of his deal, which runs through 2025-26. How much actually would come into play depends on when Weber decides to retire.
Marc Bergevin issued the following statement on the trade:
“We completed today an important transaction which I am convinced will make the Canadiens a better team. It was also one of the most difficult decisions I had to make as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. In Shea Weber, we get a top rated NHL defenseman with tremendous leadership, and a player who will improve our defensive group as well as our powerplay for many years to come. Shea Weber led all NHL defensemen last season with 14 powerplay goals. He is a complete rearguard with impressive size and a powerful shot. P.K. Subban is a special and very talented player. He provided the Canadiens organization with strong performances on the ice and generous commitment in the community. I wish him the best of luck with the Predators.”
Coincidentally, this trade comes 26 years to the day that Chris Chelios was traded by Montreal to Chicago. Will this be a case of history repeating itself? We’ll find out over the next several years.