A few seasons ago, in the summer before the 2016-17 NHL season, the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators made a one-for-one deal that arguably changed both franchises to the foundation. The deal didn’t get as much publicity as it probably should have coming minutes after Taylor Hall was traded from the Edmonton Oilers for Adam Larsson in what many deemed a head-scratching trade, but it was no less important or controversial. It’s a move that still gets debated by both the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens fan bases.
One of the questions we’ll be asking as this site grows and through feature articles like this one is ‘What do trades look like years after they happened?’
We’ll try to break down and examine previous trades and how they worked out for their respective franchises seasons later. We’ll start with the Weber-for-Subban trade that, at one point, seemed like a clear win for one side, but today is being viewed by many in a totally different light.
When the Trade First Happened
On the day of the deal, the NHL world was in shock. Not only did one-for-one trades rarely happen, but ones of this magnitude were so seldom that two big trades happening in one day was almost unheard of. And, when you consider the Predators viewed Weber as the face of their franchise and Montreal had hinted they had no interest in moving Subban, everyone was trying to make sense of the move.
At first, the consensus was that the Canadiens were the losers of this deal. There was a lot of anger over Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin’s decision to trade the team’s most popular player and the 2012-13 Norris Trophy winner in Subban. Few people drew fans like Subban did and perhaps more than any Canadiens player in recent history, Subban jerseys flew off the shelves.
Granted, Subban was making a ton of money and there were times more attention was paid to his personality than the team, but many considered him to be worth every penny the franchise was paying him and his antics helped sell the NHL.
The same couldn’t be said for Weber.
Weber was getting older and what Subban was making paled in comparison to the money Nashville had committed to their star d-man. Things looked as though they were starting to regress for Weber and there was some worry he’d struggle to live up the dollar value of his deal over the long-term.
Immediately following the trade, doubters of the deal from a Canadiens perspective appeared correct. Weber struggled as did the Canadiens and Subban moved onto Nashville where he had an 82-point season in his second year with the team (his first season he had 44 points in 62 games) and the Predators reached the Stanley Cup final in year one with him as part of the blue line. Meanwhile, Weber had 42 points in his first season then 16 in an injury-riddle second season. It was injuries that had a lot of Montreal fans worried.
Fast forward a couple of seasons and things look a little different.
The Weber for Subban Deal Today
As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Subban was mentioned in traded rumors. He’s now a part of the New Jersey Devils after Nashville basically dumped his salary and the Devils have struggled to be anything near what they’d hoped they’d be after adding Subban. Subban, at times, has struggled too.
In Montreal, Weber has seen a resurgence of sorts. No, the Canadiens are not a good hockey club. But, with personally over 30 points only half way through the 2019-20 campaign, Weber certainly isn’t being blamed for the team’s struggles.
What’s To Come for Subban and Weber?
What’s next might be the most intriguing part of all. At age 30, Subban is four years younger than Weber. Logic would dictate Subban pays more dividends to whatever team he plays with. Still, the Devils have struggled and part of why they brought in Subban was to keep Taylor Hall. Clearly, that didn’t work out.
So too, in Nashville, Subban is a distant memory and the Predators have fired their coach and are looking at missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. GM David Poile says they’re open for business and big changes could be coming. One year from now, remnants of Subban being a Predator could be long gone.
Meanwhile, in Montreal, there are questions that Weber will make it to end of his contract and now some in the media are wondering if a team-wide shakeup is in order?
Neither are likely seen as top defensemen in the NHL these days but they still have assets that can be useful to an NHL club. It’s simply a matter of whether or not teams want to pay the sticker price.