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Subban further adds to buzz surrounding Devils

Trade with Predators for defenseman, drafting Hughes with No. 1 pick spark excitement in New Jersey

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

VANCOUVER -- Karl Subban was sitting in his backyard with some friends Saturday when he received a call from his son P.K. Big news: The Nashville Predators had traded P.K. to the New Jersey Devils.

"I was really shocked when P.K. called me," Karl said in a phone interview. "I had to sit down. It was like an earthquake, knocked me down right back into my chair. But you know, on the other hand, P.K., he's going to be taking his dream to another city.

"The dream continues. That is to win the Stanley Cup. I can't wait to get my New Jersey Devils sweater."

 

[RELATED: Subban traded to Devils by PredatorsSubban to Devils fantasy impact | 2019-20 NHL Trade Tracker]

 

This is seismic for New Jersey.

The Devils selected center Jack Hughes No. 1 in the 2019 NHL Draft on Friday, and now they have added Subban, who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 2013 and was a finalist in 2015 and 2018.

Instantly, they have become more interesting and entertaining on and off the ice, and all this comes after they selected center Nico Hischier No. 1 in the 2017 NHL Draft.

It should excite everyone from Devils forward Taylor Hall, who won the Hart Trophy as the NHL most valuable player last season, has one season left on his contract, and is eligible to sign an extension July 1, to the fans who have watched New Jersey miss the playoffs six times in seven seasons.

Video: Subban traded to Devils during Day 2 of draft

Lots of people are going to want Devils sweaters now.

"It's great for our market," Devils general manager Ray Shero said during the draft at Rogers Arena. "It's great for the Devils franchise. I think in our area, we deserve to have a Jack Hughes, a Taylor Hall, with Nico Hischier and now P.K. Subban, and be relevant.

"I mean, it's the entertainment business. That's what it's about."

Not only are Hughes and Subban dynamic talents, they are dynamic personalities.

Hughes is 18. Yet he has dealt with media attention for years already and seems confident and comfortable in the spotlight.

After he was drafted Friday, he smiled and dropped one-liners as he was followed by cameramen and reporters documenting his every move. In a large media scrum, he called Shero "Ray." How many draft picks call their new GMs by their first names? Or say this?

Asked about Shero, Hughes smiled and said, "He's a beauty."

Video: Subban excited about trade to Devils

Subban is unlike any other player in the League, a multimedia brand all his own who makes an impact in the community.

As people buzzed about the trade at the draft, he appeared in an adidas ad on the scoreboard screen, saying, "It's showtime, kids. Let's go!" It was a coincidence, but the timing was perfect.

After the trade was announced, he posted a video message on Instagram. He was serious, thanking the Predators, addressing the fans and his former teammates, and he was funny too, cracking jokes about his lack of Devils gear.

"Are you guys ready for the Subbanator?" he asked Devils fans. "Because I'm ready to go."

He pointed to the sky and said with a laugh, "Let's go!" Then he turned to one of his dogs and said, "Lucy, we're going to Jersey. Let's go!" He picked her up and posed for the camera as another dog barked.

Instagram from @subbanator: #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? 😈☝🏿👀 @therock

Later, Subban tweeted a picture that looked like his head pasted onto a Halloween costume of a devil, complete with a red cape and pitchfork. He hashtagged it his new profile pic.

Tweet from @PKSubban1: #NewProfilePic pic.twitter.com/eAWZJR2e7C

He's a beauty too. Maybe it takes one to know one.

"There's nothing wrong with that," Shero said. "P.K. Subban is a great kid, and he's got enthusiasm. Personality, enthusiasm, I call it enthusiasm, I guess. And I like that. And I like that. And I think freshness is good.

"Adding talent is one thing, but the whole idea of P.K.'s enthusiasm for the game or [for] life, I think that's a real positive for us, and I think it's a real positive for the NHL."

Look, on some level, this has to be hard on Subban and spur questions. This is the second time he has been traded; the Montreal Canadiens sent him to the Predators on June 29, 2016. Why is a player of his caliber on his third team in a relatively short period of time? But the Predators had strength on defense and needed salary cap space to bolster other areas of the roster, while the Devils had cap space and needed talent. Nashville shed Subban's contract, which has three more seasons at an average annual value of $9 million, and received defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, plus two second-round picks.

And now Subban is a big part of an earth-shattering time in New Jersey.

"It's news that he has to get used to," his father said. "He's thinking Nashville, thinking Nashville, and now he has to be thinking New Jersey Devils.

"But I'm quite sure he will be fine. He's a pro. He's been down this road before. So I know when the puck drops, P.K. will be ready to do his part and to bring his very best to the Devils and to help them to achieve what they want to achieve, and that is to win the Stanley Cup."

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