Don’t Be Surprised If New Jersey Devils Protect P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Today, we are going to go through the biggest surprises that could come when the New Jersey Devils announce who they are going to protect in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft. There are some pretty obvious protections for the Devils. Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, Miles Wood, Yegor Sharangovich, and Pavel Zacha appear to be obvious candidates among the forwards. Damon Severson and Jonas Siegenthaler are the most likely candidates to be protected when it comes to defensemen. Mackenzie Blackwood is going to be protected as the goalie.

When looking at defensemen, it’s really just Will Butcher and P.K. Subban when it comes to that position. They have one spot left to protect and two very shaky candidates. No fan is going to be devastated about losing Subban or Butcher despite the fact that both acquisitions came with so much fanfare and neither really worked out as hoped.

In terms of Subban, he seemed to get new life in the Lindy Ruff system. He got to be a threat on the power play, and his speed is still better than most defensemen in the league despite losing a step to a career’s worth of injuries. He was definitely not a detriment to the team like he was in his first year in New Jersey.

Subban gets under a lot of Devils’ fans skin because he does a ton off the ice. He just got a new gig with ESPN covering the NHL playoffs. We’d imagine that gig will continue with ESPN getting hockey coverage next season. Subban will always have his hands in other places as he looks to a career beyond hockey. While most fans aren’t a fan of this, the Devils probably love it. Every time he’s on ESPN, it’s “New Jersey Devils’ defenseman P.K. Subban”. So, with the inevitable new fans coming with the ESPN deal, some might immediately gravitate towards the Devils because Subban is playing for them.

Honestly, it’s not a bad strategy. The Devils could use more fans from around the country as any team could. If growing the game means the Devils gain a stranglehold on new fans, then it’s a win win for everyone. Do the Devils want to risk losing that to the Kraken just to get some salary cap space they don’t really need right now?

dark. Next. Don't Be Surprised If Devils Protect Will Butcher

If the Kraken take Subban, the salary cap situation gets a little strange for the Devils. It would put the Devils $25 million away from the cap floor. Again, that’s not the cap ceiling, that’s the cap floor. The Devils would have to make moves that don’t really help the team in order to hit the floor like trading for injured players.

Subban might actually be with the Devils beyond his current contract. He won’t be making the $9 million he is making now, but once negotiations start at the end of next season, the Devils might decide keeping Subban as an ambassador and a veteran presence would be worth it.