Montreal Canadiens: If P.K. Subban Goes, It’s Here
Montreal Canadiens fans have felt like the world is burning since Carey Price went down. The latest episode of “As The Habs Crumble” features head coach Michel Therrien sniping at All-Star defenceman P.K. Subban. Now rumors are out that Subban’s name has come up in trade talks.
I could talk about how Therrien is begging the Montreal Canadiens to fire him, publicly going after the face of the franchise. It could be fun to point the finger at GM Marc Bergevin. Considering how the Montreal Canadiens have struggled to score goals and now can’t prevent them without the league MVP, I think he should be fired for not addressing team needs better.
But the idea of the Montreal Canadiens trading P.K. Subban as the deadline approaches is fascinating. It would be a clear sign that the Montreal Canadiens are clear sellers this year instead of looking at options for scoring help. If Bergevin has his eyes to the lottery, he has work to do to increase his odds for a top three pick.
Trading Subban would certainly help those odds. But where should he go? If Subban is truly available, there are 29 General Managers calling the Montreal Canadiens constantly. There isn’t a team in the league he doesn’t make better immediately, in particular offensively. And Subban could bring the Montreal Canadiens back the scoring help they so desperately need.
Of all the calls Bergevin may take, which team makes the most sense? First of all, don’t expect this to happen at the deadline. Players like Subban don’t get moved at the trade deadline. Not with the money and term involved on his contract. Not to a team now in contention for the Stanley Cup. This happens during the offseason, so we have plenty of time to chew on this.
NO. Look, Bergevin may have let the Montreal Canadiens go on for a while without any forwards to help Max Pacioretty score goals. While trading Subban would bring a sharp reaction from Habs fans, they might burn the Bell Centre to the ground if he were traded within the conference. I’ve got to give Bergevin credit for that. I think.
Best In The West
Teams like the Blackhawks, Stars, Ducks, and Kings would need to trade too many pieces and upset their existing successful cores to make this trade work. On top of that, only Anaheim has the cap space to absorb Subban’s contract. Anaheim has been mentioned in rumors but for trading away defensemen, not bringing one in. The Montreal Canadiens should look lower in the standings.
The Montreal Canadiens could look among the worst in the West for possible new homes for Subban. Winnipeg just resigned Dustin Byfuglien to a massive contract and seem to have a solid top four on defense. With their cap space, the Jets may not look at the Montreal Canadiens for defensive help but put themselves for offensive help in free agency. I hear someone from the Tampa Bay area might be available.
Calgary already made their move bringing in Dougie Hamilton last season and need to keep much of their young talent. Arizona is building from the ground up and has their defensive stud in Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Minnesota doesn’t have the space without moving a big contract in return and is trying to find itself after head coach Mike Yeo was fired. The Wild could be reasonable partners with the Montreal Canadiens here, but there is a better one.
And The Winner Is….
Blue Line Station
If I’m the Montreal Canadiens, I’m calling the Edmonton Oilers and finding out which of their young forwards they are willing to part with. Hell, Cam Talbot may help someone pack and drive them to the airport if it means more support. Bringing in a top-pair defenseman immediately makes the Oilers more formidable, and Darnell Nurse is waiting in the wings. Edmonton would get better and fast.
So would the Montreal Canadiens. Bergevin would get the top-six forward the Habs so badly need. If Nurse is ready to step into the NHL next year, the Habs could get a defenseman back in the deal to fill the void left by Subban. And as much as deals like this don’t happen at the deadline, Edmonton is the one team that could trade with the Montreal Canadiens now.
Neither team is going to make the playoffs. Edmonton is low enough in the standings where adding Subban won’t drastically reduce their chances of a top three draft pick. On the other hand the Montreal Canadiens are stabilizing their free fall. Trading Subban could signal giving up on this season and improving the teams odds of a top three pick.
Next season the Montreal Canadiens would get a full season from their new scorer, get the league MVP back healthy and pursue defensive help both at the draft and in free agency. It’s the rare occasion where a hockey trade at the deadline makes sense.
All of this being said when the puck drops on the 2016-17 NHL season, I still expect PK Subban to wear a Montreal Canadiens sweater. It’s far more likely both Therrien and Bergevin are looking for work this offseason. But the thought of two Canadian teams shaking the birthplace of hockey to its core with a blockbuster in the next week is exciting.
More so than Edmonton winning the lottery and drafting another forward.