When David Poile sent P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils, the hockey world knew something was up.
Yes, Poile had to make room for a pending big-money contract for fellow defenseman Roman Josi, whose current team-friendly deal will be anything but in the near future.
[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]
But he was also clearing cap space for one of the most coveted free agents on the board: Matt Duchene, a player Poile wanted badly — enough to trade Subban from their formidable rearguard.
And now it’s official. Poile got his man, to the tune of seven years and $56 million.
“Our objective this offseason was to bolster our offense, and signing Matt Duchene gives us another dynamic goal-scoring, playmaking center,” Poile said in a statement. “We are excited to add his skill and experience to our top-six forwards and look forward to the next seven years of Matt and his family in Smashville. Matt’s love of country music and passion for the city of Nashville make this partnership a perfect fit.”
Considering some whispers went into the eight-figure range, this seems to be a very good deal.
The Predators now boast quite the spine up front with Ryan Johansen, Kyle Turris (whom they acquired in a deal that helped send Duchene from Colorado to Ottawa), Nick Bonino and Colton Sissons (and RFA).
The deal also helps Nashville keep pace in the arms race that is the Central Division.
With the Dallas Stars signing Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry and Andrej Sekera, and the Minnesota Wild locking up Mats Zuccarello, the Preds aren’t being left in the dust. Not in the least.
It should be an interesting day for the rest of the division.
The Winnipeg Jets don’t appear like they’ll be making any big splashes, only signing defensemen Nathan Beaulieu to a $1 million deal. They have to sign Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, both restricted free agents and both in need of big money.
The Colorado Avalanche, meanwhile, added Joonas Donskoi and re-sign Colin Wilson.
And what will the St. Louis Blues do? They got by just fine this season without a superstar making mountains of money and have yet to do anything.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck.