It’s blockbuster trade day in the NHL!
Moments after we learned the Edmonton Oilers had traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson came news that the Montreal Canadiens had traded P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for their captain, Shea Weber.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos was the first to report the Subban-for-Weber trade.
The deal ends weeks of speculation about Subban. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told reporters over the weekend that he wasn’t shopping the 27-year-old defenseman, but where there was smoke there was fire, apparently.
“P.K. Subban is an elite offensive defenseman with tremendous skill and contagious energy that makes the Nashville Predators a better team now and into the future,” Preds GM David Poile said in a release. “Superstar defensemen of his caliber are a rare commodity, and we are thrilled to add him to the organization.”
Subban is signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $9 million.
Weber, 30, leaves Nashville after spending his entire NHL career there. He signed a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with the Flyers in the summer of 2012. The contract was heavily front-loaded, but the Predators matched it anyway.
Weber is Canadiens property now. His contract runs through 2025-26, with a cap hit of $7.86 million.
“We completed today an important transaction which I am convinced will make the Canadiens a better team,” said Habs GM Marc Bergevin. “It was also one of the most difficult decisions I had to make as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. In Shea Weber, we get a top rated NHL defenseman with tremendous leadership, and a player who will improve our defensive group as well as our powerplay for many years to come. Shea Weber led all NHL defensemen last season with 14 powerplay goals. He is a complete rearguard with impressive size and a powerful shot. P.K. Subban is a special and very talented player. He provided the Canadiens organization with strong performances on the ice and generous commitment in the community. I wish him the best of luck with the Predators.”
On Friday, Steven Stamkos can sign with any NHL team he chooses. But according to the oddsmakers at one online sportsbook, the team he’s most likely to choose is the one he’s already on.
Bovada has the Tampa Bay Lightning at +120 to re-sign Stamkos, which means a $100 wager would potentially return $120.
After the Bolts, it’s the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, both at +275. The Buffalo Sabres are next at +800, followed by the Montreal Canadiens at +1200 and the Vancouver Canucks at +2200.
It makes sense that the Lightning are the favorites to sign Stamkos. They want to keep him, and he wants to stay. It’s just a matter of finding a deal that works for both sides. So far, that deal hasn’t presented itself, but there’s still time.
The Lightning may also give Stamkos the best chance to win a Stanley Cup in the next year or two. Perhaps only the Canadiens could argue otherwise, as long as Carey Price stays healthy. The Red Wings could try to argue otherwise, but with that blue line of theirs, it would be tough. The Maple Leafs and Sabres would both have to sell Stamkos on what they’ve been building, and where they could go with him. The Canucks, meanwhile… well, they’re long shots for a reason.
At the end of the day, for any team that’s not the Lightning, the best way to convince Stamkos to leave Tampa Bay might be with a huge offer, the kind Steve Yzerman can’t possibly make and Stamkos would find very hard to refuse.
We’ll find out soon where he chooses. In the meantime, place your bets!
Related: Andreychuk confident that Stamkos will re-sign in Tampa Bay
Craig Berube is going back behind a bench. He’s been named head coach of the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.
Berube was most recently a bench boss in Philadelphia. He was fired by the Flyers at the end of the 2014-15 season, eventually replaced by Dave Hakstol.
This won’t be Berube’s first time as head coach in the AHL. He served as the Phantoms’ head coach in 2007-08, going 46-27-7 before losing in the second round of the playoffs.
Berube, 50, was rumored to be a candidate for a number of assistant positions in the NHL, but this job — i.e., being in charge of a team — may be a better route to getting back to the NHL as a head coach.
It worked for Mike Sullivan, after all.
Related: Berube surprised by firing: ‘I expected to come back and coach again’
Kevin Shattenkirk was surprised he wasn’t traded during draft weekend.
Ditto for Cam Fowler.
“It’s been an interesting week or so, that’s for sure,” the 24-year-old Ducks defenseman told ESPN.com yesterday. “You hear your name tossed out there. I’ve heard that before even at recent trade deadlines, but this time with the position the Ducks are in and some of the salaries, it just seemed like it was pretty real. I was 100 percent prepared for something to happen. And was honestly pretty surprised when it didn’t.”
Fowler went on to say that he loved playing in Anaheim, but he acknowledged that the hands of his general manager, Bob Murray, are “tied a little bit with what he needs to do.”
Indeed, Murray is in a tough spot, particularly with the expansion draft on the horizon. On the back end, the Ducks will almost certainly protect Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, while Kevin Bieksa has a no-movement clause which he’d need to waive in order to be exposed. Even beyond those three, Anaheim’s got 24-year-old Simon Despres locked up through 2020-21 for an affordable cap hit of $3.7 million.
Fowler, meanwhile, is only signed for two more years, after which he’ll be due a big raise in unrestricted free agency. With 20-year-old Shea Theodore in the system, Fowler’s highest value for the Ducks may be in a trade.
The Montreal Canadiens have reportedly been “among the most interested” in Fowler, and that makes sense with Andrei Markov getting close to retirement. The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings could be suitors as well. The Buffalo Sabres were also believed to be interested, but their interest may have waned after they got Dmitry Kulikov from Florida.
With Shattenkirk, Fowler and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba all potentially in play, it may take one domino to fall before they all start falling.
As Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said the other day, “Whenever there’s a deadline, things loosen up. The next one is July 1.”
Related: ‘One of them had to go,’ says Ducks GM after trading Andersen to Toronto
Calgary forward Mason Raymond and Nashville forward Eric Nystrom have been placed on waivers for the purposes of being bought out.
Raymond, 30, had one year left on his three-year contract, with a cap hit of $3.15 million. He had just four goals in 29 games last season. He played 15 games for AHL Stockton, scoring six times with nine assists.
Nystrom, 33, also had one year left on his contract. His cap hit was $2.5 million on a four-year deal. The Preds tried to trade him, but not surprisingly had no luck after he scored just seven goals, with no assists, in 47 NHL games last season.