All things considered, the deal with Shero’s Nashville counterpart, David Poile, is a dynamic plus for the Garden State Skaters.
Displaying his typical brand of ebullience, Subban immediately knocked off a Tweet to Devils Dominion:
“DEVILS — ARE YOU READY FOR THE SABBANATOR?”
#Smashville – I love you! Thank you to the @PredsNHL team, teammates, fans and community for embracing me over the past three years. Ready for this next chapter… @NJDevils are you ready for the Subbanator? 😈☝🏿👀 pic.twitter.com/rkPkkqRKRT
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) June 22, 2019
To obtain the ebullient — not to mention most competent — defender, Shero did not even have to lose a regular. Instead, he only relinquished Steve Santini, down in the minors almost as much as he was in Newark.
Others tossed into the trade included D-man Jeremy Davies, a 2019 second-round Draft pick, plus the Devils’ second-round selection in the 2020 Entry Draft.
Consider these P.K. pluses:
1. Subban was the 2013 Norris Trophy-winner as the National Hockey League’s best defenseman; 2. P.K. is a two-time NHL All-Star; 3. He owns that elusive element so rare in top entertainers as well as athletes — unique star power.
A random check of experts around the league indicates that Shero won big on the deal. One such sample is provided by lead columnist Ken Campbell of The Hockey News.
“The Predators got a part-time NHLer,” noted Campbell, “a minor league prospect and two second-round picks. That’s a modest return at best for Nashville.”
MSG Networks Devils TV analyst Bryce Salvador joined the corps of congratulators, particularly noting Subban’s reputation for helping communities in which he has so far played; first in Montreal and most recently, Nashville.
— Bryce Salvador (@BryceSalvador) June 22, 2019
Rob Taub, who has covered the Devils all season for the weekly Fischler Report, The Maven’s newsletter, calls the trade “a monster deal” for Shero, following the much-heralded arrival of Jack Hughes.
“Starting with drafting a cornerstone,” explains Taub, “Shero solidifies the top spot on his club’s blue line. Subban is a star and Ray knows it.”
To better understand the motives behind the P.K. production, one must start with the fact that Nashville’s Poile had to unload one of his Big Four on defense. Of the quartet, Subban was the most expensive of the bunch.
On the Devils’ side, Shero not only wanted to bolster his blue line, but also to persuade Taylor Hall to remain in New Jersey. Hall’s immediate reaction to the trade was nothing but a delight for his club.
One of the more point-counterpoint reactions came from author Matthew Blittner, currently working on a book — UNFORGETTABLE DEVILS — GAMES AND MEMORIES FROM THE PRESS BOX, ICE AND FRONT OFFICE.
Blittner, who recently published a similar book about the Rangers, see the deal as energizing the New York-New Jersey rivalry beyond it already current intensity.
Bryce Salvador and Joe Micheletti talk about if the top two picks in the NHL Draft start a new era of the Rangers and Devils rivalry.
“Between the Hughes-Kakko rivalry and now Subban moving on to the Devils,” concludes Blittner, “the Trans-Hudson rivalry should become as hot as it did when the teams last met in the playoffs. Only now it could get even hotter.”
Conclusion: It’s gone from sizzling to white-hot; thank fireman Subban for that!