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The Only Open Question on Subban

by Stu Grimson / Nashville Predators

Enormous deal, yes? When’s the last time you saw two clubs swap franchise players? Maybe not ever… certainly not in this sport. Defenseman P.K. Subban sent to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber.

Bottom line: I like it. Nashville just got better at a position where most agreed it already dominated – the blue line. Imagine the following as a new top four? Mattias Ekholm on the left; P.K. Subban on the right and a separate pairing featuring Roman Josi on the left and Ryan Ellis on the right. I don’t see a rival across the NHL that can match the Predators’ first four defenders.

However, the point I want to make here has nothing to do with the merits of Subban’s game or his impact on Bridgestone Arena ice. Subban’s physical talents are a given; he stamped his name on the Norris Trophy at just 24 years of age.

The one open question in acquiring Subban relates to whether he’s a good fit or a distraction in his new locker room. He was swapped for the face of the franchise; the club captain who was revered by all in Gold. A stark contrast to the humble, lead-by-example Weber, Subban is bold, colorful and larger than life. I’m not the first to write that it’s this aspect of Subban that may have factored in his departure from Montreal, despite Subban’s frequent charity work in the community.

So will he fit? Yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Subban loves the spotlight; embraces the attention and plays off it – well, in my opinion. The game could use more P.K. However, you don’t want to be branded in the fraternal order of NHLers as one who puts himself above the group. That’s a recipe for isolation and excommunication.

But I heard something from the Preds’ newest skater on Wednesday that gave me reason to believe he will impact “the room” for the better. In his first-ever Predators press conference he was asked about his impressions of the Preds D-corps. The human quote machine went on to say that there was no question that Nashville now boasted the best-looking defense in the business.

All in jest of course, but did you catch the first part of that remark? At the front end of his comment about the NHL’s prettiest defenders, P.K. pointed out that Shea Weber too was a good-looking man. I couldn’t help but notice Subban went out of his way to pay his respects to the Preds’ departed captain, while at the same time he was deadpanning for the local media. And this was not the only moment in a 10-minute presser that Subban gushed about the Preds’ former No. 6.

Signs of a maturity beyond his 27 years perhaps?

For my money, there are clear indications that Subban gets it, and he wears Gold now as a result. It’s OK to put yourself out there; just be sure to honor the game and those around you as you do.

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