It has been 24 hours since the most significant trade in Nashville Predators history occurred when the Preds acquired Norris Trophy winner, P.K. Subban, from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman, Shea Weber. Social media has been ablaze, on both sides of the trade, with glaring positives and negatives. Therefore, let us focus on the aftermath of this trade rather than agonizing over “The Captain” leaving the organization.
What are the Preds getting in Subban?
Subban is a perfect fit for the Peter Laviolette system. He is a pressing defenseman that enjoys taking the puck into the offensive zone and isn’t afraid to handle the puck. Subban is the 2013 recipient of the Norris Trophy for the league’s best defenseman. The Toronto, ON, Canada native is a charismatic, marketable player that will bring energy to Nashville both on and off the ice. During the 2015-16 campaign, Subban had six goals and 45 assists for a total of 51 points in 68 games. Over his career, Subban has 63 goals and 215 assists.
What is Nashville losing?
Leadership. It is hard to deny the leadership capabilities of Shea Weber. After becoming the winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award, the league has taken notice of Weber’s leadership abilities. From someone who watches every Preds game, Weber has been slipping over the past two seasons and the Sharks were able to take advantage of his lost edge in the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Preds will need to get Subban to step in and be a leader for this team. With veteran leaders such as James Neal and Mike Fisher, they will need Subban to assert himself as a leader on day one.
So, who takes the “C”?
With Weber traded, who will become the next captain of the Nashville Predators? This is a slippery slope for the coaching staff. They will need a leader that can be effective in keeping the team focused and become a true Stanley Cup contender. A recent poll conducted of the followers of Penalty Box Radio’s coverage of the trade have a few possible leaders amongst the fans for the new captain. The current leader is Roman Josi with 49% of the vote. Josi will forever be linked to Weber as his line mate, but also with their leadership characteristics. Both players have used a less talk, more action approach. Another player that is coming to the forefront as a possible new captain is Mike Fisher. Initially, I dismissed Fisher as a possible replacement, due to his age and contract, but it makes sense. He is a vocal leader, very passionate, and willing to step up to be what the team needs. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds in the coming weeks and months.
The Nashville Predators will have some big shoes to fill with trading off a talent such as Shea Weber. Only time will tell who the “winner” of this trade will be. Nashville was able to get younger and more athletic with this acquisition. They were also able to be in a better contractual situation. If Subban can produce at a high rate, the sky is the limit for this organization.
Photo credit: Christina McCullough