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Subban 'not really surprised' Canadiens traded him

Defenseman says he didn't want to leave Montreal, is excited to join Predators

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- P.K. Subban getting traded to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday may have shocked many people, but not Subban.

The defenseman, who had been the subject of trade rumors leading up to the NHL Draft last weekend, said he was "not really surprised" to be sent to Nashville for defenseman Shea Weber, even though the Montreal Canadiens said they didn't have plans to trade him.

"I think that with a lot of the chatter that kind of happened over the little while, I'm a firm believer that usually where there's smoke, there's fire," Subban said. "At no point did I ever, obviously, want to leave Montreal, or even was given a notion from anybody that I would be traded, but we know the way the business works."

The top four defensemen on the Predators, including Subban, 27, could arguably form the best group in the League. Coach Peter Laviolette said Subban could play with either Roman Josi, who finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting this season, or Mattias Ekholm, who will represent Team Sweden in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Video: P.K. Subban talks about being traded to Nashville

"I don't know exactly what my role is going to be on the team or how I'm going to fit in," Subban said. "I'm not even thinking about that right now. I'm just thinking about understanding moving forward that I'm not in Montreal, and I just want to come in and listen and learn and be a part of this team.

"This is a great hockey club that's got a lot of potential and a great future ahead of it. I was traded for their captain, so I'd like to think that the expectations are for me to come in and not just be a great player for this franchise but also a leader."

Weber, 31, was Predators captain for six seasons and was arguably the most successful player in their history. The Predators want to utilize speed more, which was a big reason they acquired Subban.

"The one thing that coming out of the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], or own experience in watching the playoffs move forward is the teams that can generate the most speed and can generate the most skill and the most speed have the best chance of being successful," Laviolette said. "What I really think he brings to the table is speed."

The Predators are eager to see what Subban can bring, defensively and offensively. Subban won the Norris Trophy in 2013 as the League's best all-around defenseman, and the Predators believe he is one of the most exciting players in the game.

"I'm a general manager but someday I'd like to be a fan, and [Subban] is a guy that I would pay money to see," Predators general manager David Poile said. "He's exciting to watch. I mean he does something every game. He competes every game. He shows up every game. I think he's going to be dynamic."

Video: The Preds GM and coach talk about getting Subban

The fact the Predators parted with Weber, a player who has meant so much to the franchise, was not lost on Subban.

"I just feel good knowing a team has moved someone to bring me in because they want me," Subban said. "They moved a great player, probably the last player everybody thought they would move, but they moved a great player, their captain, to bring me in, and that shows a team that wants you. I'm just happy to be in a position where I can excel and feel good coming to the rink every day about myself, about the team, about my position. More importantly, I just look forward to trying to win a Stanley Cup."

Part of Subban's appeal around the League is his sense of humor, and that was on full display during his conference call with the Nashville media. Asked if he thought the Predators had one of the best defense corps in the League, Subban joked about it being the best-looking group.

"Aside from them being outstanding defensemen and great defensemen, I'd have to say now with the acquisition of myself, and before they were pretty good-looking with Shea Weber, but I think they got a whole lot better looking now," Subban said.

Subban spent a good amount of time in Nashville for the first time at the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend. He is on vacation in Paris and said he is looking forward to getting acquainted with his new organization.

"Well I can tell you this right now, I'd like to get [to Nashville] as quickly as possible because I've always enjoyed my time in Nashville," Subban said. "Over [the] All-Star break, I had an opportunity to get to know some of the players on the team. I don't know if that's a coincidence. I got along with the guys great. Some of them I know previously. A couple of them have reached out to me [Wednesday].

"Listen, I'm excited to get down to Nashville, whenever that is."

Video: Marc Bergevin on the Shea Weber trade - Part 1

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