The New Jersey Devils have reportedly acquired defenseman P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators, both teams announced Saturday.
The #NJDevils have acquired defenseman P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators, in exchange for Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies, and two second-round picks (the 34th overall this season and the team’s 2020 second-rounder).
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) June 22, 2019
The Predators will receive defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies and two draft picks.
“We had to make a business decision. With an aim at strengthening our forward corps this offseason, and the continued strength of our defensive group, we felt it was necessary to clear up salary cap space this way,” Predators president of hockey operations and general manager David Poile said in a statement.
“We appreciate P.K.’s contribution to the Predators and the Nashville community over the past three seasons, which have seen our organization have unprecedented success.”
According to The Athletic, the trade clears space for the Predators to “presumably make an offer” to unrestricted free agent center Matt Duchene of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Subban’s $9 million cap hit had been the highest on the Nashville roster. That had led to speculation that he might be dealt, but the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks had been viewed as the two most likely destinations.
The 30-year-old Subban, the 2013 Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, spent three seasons in Nashville after starting his career in Montreal. He helped lead the Predators to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.
Subban, who has three years and $27 million remaining on his contract, said after the season he hoped to stay in Nashville, but realized that might not be an option.
“If I’m talking facts, I’m the highest paid player on the this team,” Subban said (via The Tennessean). “With that comes responsibility. Just like everybody else, the responsibility is on me to take the fact that we didn’t win the first round. We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish.
“I hope I’m part of the solution. I hope I can be here and be a part of that. But at the same token, I’m prepared to understand that this organization deserves and demands the best, and they should.”
Subban had 31 points (nine goals and 22 assists) in 63 games last season.