The madness continues: Subban for Weber, Stamkos stays


PK Subban

June 29 Fireworks: P.K. Subban is no longer a member of the Canadiens. He was dealt to the Predators straight up for Shea Weber. Meanwhile, Steven Stamkos decided to stay put with the Lightning passing up unrestricted free agency. 

In what may as well be called June 29th madness, two more catastrophic moves took place. Following the Devils stealing Taylor Hall from the Oilers for Adam Larsson, a blockbuster of epic proportions took place between the Canadiens and Predators.

The much rumored P.K. Subban was traded straight up by Montreal to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber. Subban is younger than Weber, who at age 30 still has another eight years remaining on a deal worth an average cap hit of $7.857 million. This on the heels of trading for Andrew Shaw and giving him a six-year contract that averages out to $3.75 million for a supporting cast player.

As for Subban, he’s 27. So three years younger. One of the most popular Habs in franchise history, he will now wear the ugly mustard jerseys of the Predators. That just sounds weird. His cap hit is actually more than Weber. Subban averages $9 million a year over the next six seasons before hitting the market in 2022. He’ll team with Roman Josi to form a potent 1-2 punch on a strong blue line that features Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis.

The Preds also just gave Filip Forsberg $6 million per year over the next six thru 2022. Wait till next summer when they have to ante up for Ryan Johansen. Speaking of which, the Blue Jackets handed Seth Jones a new six-year contract worth a reported $32.4 million. He was the player traded for Johansen.

In a wild rumor, the Bruins are considering giving Winnipeg Group II Jacob Trouba a monster offer sheet which could be in the neighborhood of $9 million per year. I think he’s gonna be one of the best defensemen. That said, it’s absurd to throw that kind of money around for a 22-year old who just completed his rookie contract.

Normally, a mega trade like the Weber for Subban one would be the story of the day. A deal that I like better for the Preds because I think Subban has a lot more to give.

However, on a crazy day where star for star happened and Hall for Larsson did as well, the Lightning and Steven Stamkos agreed to a brand new eight-year deal worth a reported $8.5 million per year. In the end, he decided getting that extra year and having a tax free contract was the best way to go. So, rather than go to July 1, the Lightning captain decided he loved Tampa too much to leave. Given that they reached Game 7 of the Conference Finals before he returned, it’s probably a wise decision.

Why go elsewhere when it’s more of an uncertain situation? Personally, I thought the Red Wings would’ve been the favorites to land Stamkos had he hit the market. They cleared Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million salary with the trade to Arizona. Instead, Stamkos showed loyalty to the team who drafted him. Even if dollars and cents were a big part of it, you have to give him credit. He just made it a lot easier for Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman to get rid of Ben Bishop with next year’s expansion draft.

Yzerman must still re-sign key restricted free agent Nikita Kucherov. The clutch playoff performer who will only get better. Alex Killorn is also a Group II. So, they’ll still have to shed some salary. It’s worth noting that Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are all in their final years with only Hedman able to become unrestricted. Jonathan Drouin will also be a restricted next summer.

Assuming Andrei Vasilevskiy takes over the number one goalie from Bishop, whose days are numbered, the Bolts should remain one of the East’s best teams. Brian Boyle comes off next summer. You have to figure Ryan Callahan could be a buyout candidate at some point. He still has four years left at $5.8 million cap hit.

With Stamkos officially off the market, that means Milan Lucic is the biggest name still available. Edmonton and Vancouver should get in a bidding war for him. With not many other big names, look for more trades. Teams must prepare for next summer when Las Vegas enters the league.

What does that mean for the Rangers? Unless they can find takers for some of their big name salaries (Stepan, Nash, Brassard) with no one wanting Dan Girardi or Marc Staal, they’re in bad shape.

We’ll definitely remember June 29, 2016 for a long time. The fireworks came before July.

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About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included two stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil games. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has scored Berkeley Carroll basketball games since 2006 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. From players, coaches to administrators, it's a first class program. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree.
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