After bowing out of the playoffs in the second round in 2015-16, the Preds controversially swapped star veteran blueliner Shea Weber to Montreal for Subban with the intention of both getting younger and becoming a serious Stanley Cup contender – and it worked. With Subban in the fold, Nashville went all the way to the Cup finals for the first time in franchise history, eventually falling to Pittsburgh in six games. Despite the club falling short of the ultimate prize, it was an indubitably successful season due in no small part to Subban, who scored 40 points in the regular season despite missing 16 games to injury, then a dozen more in the playoffs. Still a tender 28 years old, Subban has developed into a leader both on and off the ice, and he could even be in line to inherit the Predators’ captaincy following the recent retirement of Mike Fisher. Now that he’s had a full season to acclimate to his new digs, Subban should be counted on to deliver offensive production more in line with his last three seasons in Montreal -- i.e., 50-plus points, with 60-plus within reach if his power-play production rebounds. He’s among the NHL’s elite fantasy defensemen and may not have reached his ceiling yet, so draft him early with confidence.
In what was easily the biggest blockbuster deal of the summer, Subban was traded to Nashville in June for fellow stud defenseman Shea Weber. By acquiring the 27-year-old Subban, the Preds took advantage of an opportunity to get a little younger while adding his high-end puck-moving skills, which should be a better fit with coach Peter Laviolette’s up-tempo offensive system. Only two other NHL defensemen have scored more points than Subban (238) over the past five seasons – Erik Karlsson (314) and Brent Burns (239) – which tells you all you need to know about his offensive abilities. The Preds now have what could arguably be described as the league’s most fearsome offensive defense duo in Subban and Roman Josi, who had 61 points in 81 games last season. Those two should do great things in conjunction with the high-end forwards on Nashville’s first line, so draft Subban early and with confidence.
If Carey Price is the heart of the Canadiens, Subban is the soul. The dynamic blueliner stepped things up another notch last season, setting new career marks in goals (15), assists (45) and rating (plus-21) while playing a second consecutive 82-game campaign, and he may just be entering his best years. Subban was already the team's top defenseman, but the Habs trusted him with even more minutes than ever before -- he finished sixth in the NHL in average ice time. Gifted with a powerful body, a rocket shot, outstanding speed, and a keen sense of mischief, Subban seems to attract media attention and criticism like flies to honey. But there's no "Outraged Don Cherry Quote" category in fantasy, so tune out the noise and enjoy the ride.
Subban was once again an offensively productive defenseman, finishing with a team-high 43 assists and ranking second with 53 points, including 23 on the power play. Despite some moments that irritated coach Michel Therrien, Subban played nearly 25 minutes per night and was the most dynamic player on the roster. A game-changer, some might say. You've probably heard about his contract situation -- after a last-minute stare down with management, Subban signed a deal that will pay him $72 million over the next eight years. Subban should be on one of the top two defensive pairings and will continue to get a lot time on the man advantage.
Subban's 2012-13 season began with a six-game contract holdout and ended with him second on the team at 38 points and a plus-12 rating. He was a restricted free agent when the holdout began, so the team had the leverage, but Camp Subban was hoping for public opinion to swing his way. When Montreal got off to a good start, leverage remained with the team and he signed a two-year deal, which was essentially a bridge deal before he cashes in after this coming season. He's growing as a defender while maintaining his impact offensively. There are still the brain cramps that crop up from time to time, but those are occurring less frequently. He'll be on the top defensive pairing while getting ample time on the power play.
Subban, a restricted free agent entering the summer, and the Canadiens are eventually going to work out a deal. Whatever the parameters of that deal may be, it will be in place and Subban will be among the top four defensemen on the roster. The growing pains continued for Subban in 2011-12, but with the pain also comes the growth. He was a plus-9 last season, a 17-goal swing from his minus-8 the season before -- a sign that he was giving more thought to being a complete defenseman. There may continue to be some boneheaded plays, but Subban also brings the heavy shot and is a presence on the team's power play -- five of his seven goals came on the man advantage. Few young defenders are under as much scrutiny as Subban, but his ability to contribute in scoring, penalty minutes and hits make the talented youngster a potential star in most leagues.
For both good and bad, Subban made a big splash in his rookie NHL season in 2010-11. He struggled at times in the defensive end, resulting in early-season healthy scratches, but also showed off the offensive talent that will make him dangerous player in the years ahead -- especially on the power play with his devastating slap shot. Subban was fifth on the team with 38 points and scored nine of his 14 goals on the power play. He also picked up a team-high 124 penalty minutes and was a minus-8 for the season. It's a full bag with Subban. He'll continue his development as a player and we hope to see more night-to-night consistency in 2011-12.
Subban is looking to continue where he left off last year in the playoffs where he scored eight points in 14 playoff games. He recently was the recipient of the AHL's President's Award following last season. The brilliantly talented defenseman was a first-team AHL All-Star and was elected to the league's All-Rookie team. He's coming off an AHL season where he registered 18 goals, added 35 assists, and had a mind-boggling plus-46 rating in 77 games. The Habs might have struck gold if Subban can reproduce those numbers this year up with the big boys.
Subban, drafted 43rd overall in 2007, has played the last season three seasons for Belleville in the Ontario Hockey League. The Toronto product has put up some good numbers as a 17 and 18-year-old. Subban has potted 23 goals and 112 points and 189 PIMs in 126 games over the past two seasons. The kid also plays well when the pressure's on, as he's posted 36 points in 36 playoff games over that two-year span. The Habs love his combination of offensive skill, robust play, and calmness under pressure but they are concerned about his defensive play. Subban needs to work diligently on that part of his game if he is ever to full realize his vast potential. Subban, who just turned 19 in mid-May, will likely return for one last year of junior hockey and will see action on Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior tournament in Ottawa from late December to early January.
Subban is a delight to watch -- his skating is almost unrivalled in the 2007 draft class and he lights up the ice with his end-to-end dashes. Ranked 102nd by Central Scouting, he delivered 56 points in 68 regular-season games with the Belleville Bulls of the OHL in 2006-2007 and another 13 points in 15 playoff games. His shot is an absolute rocket and he moves the puck unbelievably well. If he can develop, he could be a power-play quarterback some day. We does need some help in his own zone; his speed helps him overcome his brain cramps in the OHL but that won't happen with each progressing level.