Could Devils defenseman P.K. Subban already be on the trade block in just his first season with the team?
While it appears very likely that the New Jersey Devils will trade unrestricted free-agent-to-be Taylor Hall before the February 25 NHL Trade Deadline, could the floundering Devils also move star defenseman P.K. Subban in just his first season in New Jersey?
“His name is out there,” an NHL source told SBRPicks.com Wednesday afternoon. “That contract will be hard to move and the Devils will have to eat some salary, but it’s not as crazy an idea as some may think and it may be the best thing for P.K. and the Devils. There just hasn’t been a fit there, and I’m talking hockey wise. This is nothing to do with P.K. as a teammate or person from all I’ve been told.”
That last comment stressing that Subban the person and teammate isn’t the issue was prompted by a recent, what some may call a ‘rip-job’ piece written by New York Post sports reporter and columnist Brett Cyrgalis last Friday in which Cyrgalis criticized Subban’s approach to the game versus his approach to his marketing ventures. Subban, fairly or not, is often the brunt of criticism in the media and on social media due to his self-marketing and the many things he does besides play hockey. Couple that with the fact that Subban has the rest of this season and two more after that left on the $72 million eight-year contract he signed with the Montreal Canadiens back in 2014, and has already been traded twice during the tenure of the contract, leads many to speculate that Subban is a problem child. With just two goals and three assists in 30 games this season, some are saying Subban has ‘lost his game’ as well and will only continue to decline from here on.
With all that going on, would another NHL team be willing to take on his contract even if the Devils ate some salary?
“If you’re a Cup contender and need to have a better powerplay, and that could be the difference between a Cup or not, then why wouldn’t you think about Subban?” one NHL scout asked rhetorically. “The Devils aren’t using him on the PP enough and that’s probably why the stats aren’t good. Use him to his strengths and he can help you win.”
Hall and fellow UFA-to-be Wayne Simmonds almost surely will be dealt out of New Jersey as rentals, but from the sounds of it, it’s not crazy to wonder if Subban could be part of the Devils house-cleaning too, if they can find the right partner in a trade.