New Jersey Devils: A Theory On P.K. Subban’s Struggles

The New Jersey Devils star defenseman was not the player they thought they were getting. Are P.K. Subban’s struggles directly tied to his workout routine?

The New Jersey Devils thought they finally got the number-one defenseman they so desperately needed when they traded a few pieces for P.K. Subban on the second day of the NHL Draft. The second he got traded, he started showing off his workout routine on social media. Some were sick of it, but others were just happy to see him working so hard to gain endurance for the season.

However, that workout routine might have done more harm than good. Elliotte Friedman seemed to be thinking out loud about Subban’s issues on the latest episode of 31 Thoughts the podcast.

See, I wonder if (Subban) is going to have to change his training or workout. He’s a big power lifting guy… I just wonder if it just effects his back and his mobility.

That makes you really think. Friedman goes on to wonder if someone with the Devils is willing to talk to Subban about his workout routine. The Devils aren’t afraid of Subban, and if the rumors are true they’re willing to listen to trade offers for him, we’re sure they’re willing to try and save him by telling him to switch his workout routine.

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We’ve seen this before with superstars in each and every sport. Working out becomes part of the sport for these athletes, and sometimes they get too big. It happens to quarterbacks, first basemen, soccer defenders and power forwards. Also, it’s happened to hockey players in the past.

Sometimes in one offseason, a player focuses solely on building strength, especially if they were dealing with certain core injuries. Back injures would be included in that. To make sure their body can handle the workload of a professional sports season, they build muscle around the weakened body part. That makes sense on paper, but sometimes that strength replaces speed and mobility.

That seems to be exactly what’s happening with Subban. He doesn’t look like he’s hurt. We don’t see him wincing a lot, but we do see him almost getting stuck in quicksand on the ice. It seems like the moves he used to make that made him a superstar just aren’t happening.

Where you can really see it is his agility. Subban used to break ankles on the ice. He could fake a guy out simply by skating into the zone. That’s not happening this season. He still has that straight-line speed, but stopping on a dime and changing directions is too big an ask on most occasions.

This can be easily fixed. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to fix during the season. This is a grind, and undoing an offseason of workouts takes another offseason. If Subban reshapes his body to be slender over bulky, maybe he finds that agility again. We see it in spurts, but he needs a certain set of circumstances for it to work out. If he can just change the way he trains, maybe that would turn into results on the ice.