If you’re a hockey fan and were on Twitter around 3 p.m. Central time today, you probably looked skeptical as the trade news hit.
As first reported by Nick Kypreos, P.K. Subban is heading to Nashville and Shea Weber is going to Montreal.
We can imagine your reaction because we had it too. Eyes bulged. Mouths gaped. You checked the accounts of those venerable scribes tweeting the news because the accounts had to be fake, right?
Nope, it was true. And just like that, another Central Division team will have a very different look come the fall.
Sure, the Predators lost a great defenseman in Weber. He has a howitzer of a shot that has left those brave (read: crazy) enough to block it in plenty of pain. Jonathan Toews tweeted good luck to Weber, and “thanks for leaving our division.” Yeah, Weber left an impression. His shot left a bigger one, sometimes in the colors of black and blue, and Central foes won’t miss seeing it five or six games per season. But with Subban the Predators will do just fine. Subban is a great player and charismatic individual, possessing one of those personalities of which the NHL doesn’t have nearly enough.
Welcome to another Central change. St. Louis is facing some. The Blues already traded goaltender Brian Elliott. Per Post-Dispatch reporter Jeremy Rutherford, Kevin Shattenkirk expects the Blues to trade him. David Backes’ and Troy Brouwer’s status with the team is up in the air.
Minnesota hasn’t made any big changes player-wise (yet) but did at the top, hiring Bruce Boudreau in May. The Wild have gotten to the postseason regularly lately but haven’t gotten too far – they can thank the Blackhawks for three of those exits. Minnesota probably needed a new voice.
But does hiring Boudreau, a consistent regular-season coach who’s struggled to get the big postseason victories – again, see the Blackhawks two years ago – improve Minnesota’s chances?
The Blackhawks have gone through this makeover thing just about every year, and they’ve already done it again this offseason. Andrew Shaw’s trade to Montreal, that same Montreal that just sent Subban packing, means they’ll be missing a net-front presence that Shaw brought on a steadier basis than anyone else the past five seasons. It’s not the only void they need to fill. A veteran defenseman wouldn’t hurt. Neither would another forward with some experience. They have some cap space, but will there be enough to get both?
The Subban-Weber trade is one of those blockbusters we don’t see often anymore. It’s staggering. It’s eye-popping. There won’t be anything as big as this for a while but, with free agency opening on Friday, there will nevertheless be other changes in the NHL.
The Central is already looking a little different. Imagine what it’ll look like by September.