"I've always been a huge fan of P.K. Subban," Devils general manager Ray Shero said of the defenseman. "Obviously, some of his legacy in terms of off-ice stuff is well known but on the ice he's a competitor, he wants to win. I love the fact he hasn't won a Stanley Cup yet and he's hungry for that, and so are we."
The trade came one day after the Devils selected center Jack Hughes of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. Hughes, one of 11 picks drafted by the Devils at Rogers Arena here, was the consensus top choice all season.
[RELATED: Subban to Devils fantasy impact | 2019-20 NHL Trade Tracker]
"This is great for the Devils and great for our area; we deserve to have Jack Hughes, Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and now P.K. Subban, to be relevant," Shero said. "It's the entertainment business. We want people to be passionate and hungry and give back to the community, and these kids do, and certainly P.K. does.
"I said to [Devils managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer] on Friday night that this is the right deal because if it doesn't happen, I'm really disappointed."
Predators general manager David Poile said the Devils' willingness to take on the remainder of Subban's contract was a key factor in making the trade.
Video: Subban traded to Devils during Day 2 of draft
Subban has three seasons left on an eight-year, $72 million contract (average annual value of $9 million) he signed with the Montreal Canadiens on Aug. 2, 2014. The 30-year-old was traded to the Predators by the Canadiens for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29, 2016.
"I talked to some other teams and to be honest, some of the components were salary retention," said Poile, who estimated he had serious trades with three other teams for Subban. "All the deals were different in terms of trades and getting different things back. This clearly was the deal that allowed us to save the most and create the most (salary) cap space."
The NHL announced on Saturday that the salary cap for next season will be $81.5 million. The lower limit will be $60.2 million.
"Just from talking to [Poile] the past four or five days, there are a lot of teams that are under pressure from cap woes and they were one of them," Shero said. "I wasn't sure if it was going to come back around or not. This was the right time and the right moment and if it was there, we wanted to do it."
Video: Subban excited about trade to Devils
Shero contacted Hall for his input on Subban. The 27-year-old left wing can sign an extension of up to eight years with the Devils beginning July 1 and can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2020.
"I talked to Taylor before we did this because he knows P.K. and he was really supportive, which I was hopeful (of)," Shero said. "I wasn't sure what I would have done if he wasn't.
"P.K. Subban is a great kid, he's got enthusiasm. We have a mix of [players young and old] but that's how you keep things fresh. Adding talent is one thing, but the whole idea of P.K.'s enthusiasm for the game or of life, that's really positive for us and the NHL."
Shero said Poile told him that the No. 34 pick in the 2019 draft had to be included in the trade. Nashville then traded it to the Philadelphia Flyers.
"[Poile] called and told me that he'll see me over at the rink, but if I wanted to do this let's do it and we said we'll do it," Shero said. "You always have to be prepared for the unexpected, and this was somewhat unexpected but we were ready to do it."
Subban had 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 63 regular-season games and three points (one goal, two assists) in six Stanley Cup Playoff games for Nashville this season. He had 130 points (35 goals, 95 assists) in 211 games over three seasons with the Predators.
"It's kind of disappointing to have to trade him," Poile said. "Having said that, in this day and age there are certain things that happen and need to happen in a cap era, and our team was trending in a certain way with our contracts and we needed to make some decisions going forward, and that's what we did.
"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."
Selected by Montreal in the second round (No. 43) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Subban has 408 points (98 goals, 310 assists) in 645 regular-season games and 62 points (18 goals, 44 assists) in 96 playoff games over 10 NHL seasons. He won the Norris Trophy as the League's best defenseman in 2013, made the NHL First All-Star Team twice (2012-13, 2014-15) and the Second All-Star Team once (2017-18), and won a gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Santini, who has two seasons remaining on a three-year, $4.25 million contract (average annual value of $1.42 million) he signed Aug. 14, 2018, had four points (one goal, three assists) in 39 games with the Devils this season. Selected by New Jersey in the second round (No. 42) of the 2013 NHL Draft, he has 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 114 NHL games.
Davies, who was selected by the Devils in the seventh round (No. 192) of the 2016 NHL Draft, has not played in the NHL. He had 36 points (eight goals, 28 assists) in 37 games as a junior for Northeastern University this season.
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