After years of being considered one of the NHL’s best defencemen, proven by his 2012-13 Norris Trophy-winning season, P.K. Subban’s stock has dropped dramatically since his first season with the New Jersey Devil in 2019-20. His age has certainly played a factor in this, but so has a weak roster around him. Nonetheless, his value is not nearly as high as it once was. We are now over two weeks into free agency and he remains unsigned.
However, despite his recent fall off, Subban can still provide value to a team. By no means is he worth the $9 million cap hit he’s made over the last few seasons, but in 2020-21 he was still averaging well north of 22 minutes per game. While he will undoubtedly be taking a major pay cut, he should be able to prove that he can still be a solid third-pairing defenseman. Here are three destinations that would be a great fit.
While many assume Subban’s best years were as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, he was fantastic throughout three seasons with the Nashville Predators as well. During that time, he played in two All-Star games and finished third in Norris Trophy voting for the 2017-18 season when he recorded 16 goals and 59 points in 82 games.
We know Subban is no longer that player, but he would still fit in well on the Predators’ roster. Not only are they much more competitive than any of his Devils’ teams, but they also need depth on the back end. While he may no longer be an everyday player, head coach John Hynes would be able to throw on the second power-play unit and feel confident in doing so. It’s worth noting that Hynes and Subban’s paths crossed ever so briefly during the 2019-20 season with the Devils.
From a cap perspective, the Predators shouldn’t have much of an issue getting this deal done. They have north of $4 million in cap space, and while Yakov Trenin remains a restricted free agent (RFA), he will by no means break the bank on a new deal. On top of that, Subban may be forced to take a deal that comes in at less than $2 million per year, given that he is still waiting for a new contract. At that salary, he would only benefit Nashville.