By Caitlyn Golem, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

 A whirlwind of emotions spiralled through the hockey world on Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 when P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens was traded to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. The cities were turned upside down with the news. I asked Habs’ fan, Edward K. Motley, what his intital reaction to the trade was and it was similar to how many others felt, “I tweeted that Weber was like getting a puppy after losing the family dog. I don’t know this dog. I miss my dog, and no dog can replace him.”

Now that the dust has settled, we can look at how the each of them are fitting in on their new teams six months later. Comparing Weber and Subban’s stats since being traded is a good gauge of how the two are doing in their new homes.

Player/Year Games Played Goals Assists Points +/- Penalty

Minutes

Power Play Points Time on Ice/Game
Subban October- Christmas 2015 36 1 13 14 9 39 11 25:22
Subban October-Christmas 2016 29 7 10 17 -11 25 7 25:24
Weber

October-Christmas 2015

34 8 15 23 -4 4 15 24:06
Weber

October-Christmas 2016

34 8 11 19 18 18 10 25:59

(Statistics courtesy of nhl.com)

In order to get a feeling of how the two are really doing, we must compare them to themselves at this time last year rather than just to one another. When looking at the statistics, there are of course other factors that may contribute such as their win – loss record over the time-spans (win-loss in regulation-loss in overtime)

20-13-3 Subban October-Christmas 2015

13-12-4 Subban October-Christmas 2016

17-11-6 Weber October-Christmas 2015

21-9-4 Weber October-Christmas 2016

Subban’s games played is slightly less this year as he has been out with an upper body injury since December 15th. The time on ice per game seems very similar for both players, both years, but when looking at the numbers game by game rather than the average, both players had more consistency in Nashville. The Predators are getting more ice time out of Subban than they were out of Weber, whereas Montreal is getting the same amount of ice time out of Weber as they were getting out of Subban. This may change over time but for now this seems to be the case based on the statistics.

Something else to consider is the difference of playing for a team thus far which is in fifth place (Montreal) versus playing on a team which is in 21st (Nashville). Also having a goaltender such as Carey Price putting up a 9.34 save percentage backing you up versus having Pekka Rinne putting up a 9.16 save percentage, also makes a difference in a player’s plus-minus rating.

(MINAS PANAGIOTAKIS / GETTY IMAGES)

Montreal Canadiens’ fan, Matthew Latour, had a similar reaction to the trade as many other fans at the time. He was angry and thought it was a huge mistake. Latour was shaken that Subban was traded after everything he had done for the city of Montreal.  Reflecting on the trade now, Latour has had a change of heart, “I’m pretty content with it now. Weber is a great defenseman and had an amazing season (so far) in Montreal. There is no doubt that Subban is more exciting, but Weber feels a bit safer.” When asked who he feels won the trade, his response was:

“Right now? Montreal. The way I see it, players are a lot less likely to run over Carey Price when Shea Weber is there. That is something stats will never show and something I am sure Price will never admit. Weber has about two to three prime years left…long term, I think it is clear that Nashville won the trade as Subban is younger and more exciting; he will be around longer.”

(Photo credit to Jean-Yves Ahern, USA TODAY Sports)

In order to offer a slightly less biased point of view, I also asked, Justin Bradford, author of The Making of Smashville, his opinion on the trade:

“My initial opinion was that it was David Poile (Predators general manager) going for the grand slam to take the franchise to the next level. The Predators had yet to have a true superstar on the team. Not only is Subban a point-producer, he’s also a Norris Trophy winner. Weber, while a staple on the blue line, was not going to reach any new levels of production for Nashville. I was completely good with it. Shocked, but good. My opinion and who I think won now is that this trade has worked out for both teams. Each organization got what they wanted. Montreal, a stable defenseman that can produce from the blue line. Nashville, a flashy and exciting player that can make things happen on the ice. Both players have been highly involved in the communities they play in, so that’s also a win-win. It’ll take more than a season to truly see who ‘won’ merely because of money spent on contracts and overall production from the players.”

I polled my followers to see how they felt about the trade now and there was a mixed reaction.

In my opinion, the trade is turning out well for both teams. Both teams got a superstar defenseman who can play big minutes and excels on the power play. Weber and Subban are also both individuals who give a great deal back to their communities which takes the trade above and beyond the hockey perspective. When it comes to leadership, the two have experience that they brought with them into their new locker rooms.

Montreal specifically, in Weber, were blessed with someone who can unload a blistering shot and a bone-crushing body check. Some are concerned with the length of his contract though, saying he will only be in his prime for another three years or so. What needs to be considered is that Carey Price is not likely to play at this elite level for much longer than that, meaning the Canadiens need to capitalize and win a Stanley Cup during that time. Short-term this deal is exactly what the team needs to give it their best shot at a Cup.

Nashville on the other hand, with the addition of Subban, gained a personality larger than life. P.K. is someone who gives fans that something extra to watch on the ice. He keeps fans on the edge of their seats, just waiting to see what he will do next. Subban is not afraid to takes risks and that offers the potential for both highlight real successes and head shaking mistakes. Although Weber is indeed a wonderful human being, the amount Subban gives back off of the ice is simply unmatched. In his latest adventure he creates a bond between the children in the Montreal and Nashville sick kids’ hospitals.

P.K. Subban is my favourite hockey player and Montreal, my favourite team, so originally the trade left me heartbroken. As much as I miss seeing Subban in a Habs’ jersey, I think the trade was truly in the best interest of both teams. Weber has given Montreal that little extra push towards being a sincere Cup contender and is giving fans in Montreal a secondary glimmer of hope for 2017. This is also offering Subban a chance to truly thrive and play his style of hockey in Nashville. The trade although having left me in tears at the time, is likely one of, if not the best, hockey trade in my lifetime when looking at the quality of return for both teams.

I asked fans what they thought of the trade and the following are some of their responses.

Lastly there is a website devoted to tracking the progress of the two players in the trade and the success of their teams.

We’ll check back in another six months or so to check in on fan opinions of this transaction that fundamentally changed both teams. Perhaps one of them will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.