Devils: After Hughes Pick, New Jersey Springs for Subban

The Nashville Predators have traded defenceman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils for defencemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, a second round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and a second round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

“We appreciate P.K.’s contribution to the Predators and the Nashville community over the past three seasons, which have seen our organization have unprecedented success,” general manager David Poile said. “He was an integral part of our run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, the 2018 Presidents’ Trophy and back-to-back Central Division titles. His work off the ice speaks for itself – he was an impactful member of our community, especially through the ground-breaking Blueline Buddies initiative.”

In the end, Nashville said the deal amounted to a business decision. According to Poile, the end goal was to clear up salary cap space in order to maintain a solid forward group and continue to commit to a strong defence.

Subban has three years to go on his eight-year contract, which is worth an average annual value of $9 million.

Nashville is not retaining any salary in the deal and is effectively shedding Subban after a disappointing 2018-2019 campaign. The defenceman scored a career-low 31 points in 63 games, then managed three points in six playoff games. The Predators were disappointed in their post-season showing against the Dallas Stars.

They’ll get that cap space they cherish, enabling about $13.7 million with Subban out of the picture. Roman Josi’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of next season and he should fetch a big payday. Ryan Ellis is now the top earning D-man on the squad at $6.25 million a season, but that’ll change if they kick up the captain’s dollar value.

For Subban, he became an expendable piece on a team with deep defence. Nashville’s veritable logjam at the position left him as the odd man out despite a hefty paycheque and the 30-year-old dropped below 23 minutes of ice time a night. Things picked up in the post-season, luckily, but there’s been no question about his reduced role as of late.

For the Devils, this is good. They can shore up their blueline, take the team in a different direction and do so while celebrating the arrival of Jack Hughes. New Jersey is generating a lot of excitement and Ray Shero’s move on Subban is a big part of that.

(Lead photo credit: Getty Images)

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