The New Jersey Devils could be the team to target superstar defenseman P.K. Subban. Is there enough there to execute a trade with the Nashville Predators?
The old saying goes “when there’s smoke there’s fire.” It’s very easy to dismiss most rumors we hear this time of year. Teams are coming out making bold statements like “everyone is available” when we know it would take an out-of-this-world offer to get a team’s best player. However, one player that seems to be in these rumors more often than most is Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.
The New Jersey Devils seem like an obvious destination for Subban. That’s if he’s actually available. That’s also if the Devils and Predators could find common ground to get a deal done.
Ray Shero has worked with Nashville in the past. Just this season the Devils sent Brian Boyle to make a playoff run with the Predators in exchange for a 2nd-round pick. Maybe this time the two can find a way to make a much bigger trade.
The question here is what would it cost?
The Preds are in a bad way when it comes to the salary cap. Both Wayne Simmonds and Boyle come off the books, yet they’ll still only have $4 million to $6 million in cap space depending on how much the salary cap goes up. That’s not enough for the Predators to make the necessary moves to make them Stanley Cup contenders again.
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Obviously, the Preds are closer to that than the Devils, but they learned this season that they aren’t as dominant as it seemed. Subban is making more than anyone on the roster at $9 million per season. That’s a huge price tag for one player, and one the Predators might not want to pay. However, that won’t cause them to give him away for free.
The Predators are going to want NHL-ready players in return for Subban. Obviously, the conversation starts with Ty Smith. Even with his upside, Subban is a major upgrade to Smith, but his $9 million price tag against years of an entry-level deal make it too high a price to pay. Also, Subban would be a defenseman who was traded multiple times before he turns 30.
Oh, and did we mention he’s turning 30 next month? That has to be part of the conversation.
The Predators may be willing to accept something less in exchange. Would the Devils make a move for, say, a Pavel Zacha and another pick? Obviously we’ve expected more from Zacha, but on paper he’s still a former 6th-overall pick that’s just 22 years old and will likely sign for a team-friendly deal.
There’s a deal to be done here. Is Subban worth it for three years and $27 million dollars? To be honest, that’s actually the perfect deal. The Devils currently have the right amount of cap space, and his deal comes off the books when it’s time to pay Jack Hughes if he ends up deserving a mega contract.
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This makes a lot of sense. It gives the Devils their number one defenseman to round out their core, it’s tying themselves to a mega contract, but just for three seasons, and it shows they’re willing to get major talent. Also, Subban can go unnoticed in New Jersey but have the upside of living near New York City, where his partner Lindsey Vonn would likely enjoy now that she’s retired. It feels like a true win-win.