P.K. Subban is 'going to a team that wants me' in trade to Predators

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens warms up prior to the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens warms up prior to the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

P.K. Subban didn’t mind that his dinner in Paris, France was interrupted when he found out he was traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators.

“Most emotional dinner that I’ve ever been a part of,” Subban said.

He added he will head to Croatia on Thursday where he will have time to try to reflect and wonder why the Canadiens opted to trade him for Nashville captain Shea Weber.

“I just feel good knowing that a team has moved someone to bring me in because they want me,” Subban said. “They moved a great player. Probably somebody that was the last player that everybody thought would be moved, but they moved a great player and their captain to bring me in. Obviously that shows a team that wants you. I’m just happy to be in a situation 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. That’s your ultimate goal and I feel that I got a whole lot closer to doing that today.”

Subban’s flamboyant personality never seemed to mesh with the Habs’ buttoned down style and led to clashes with Montreal coach Michel Therrien. Recently last year, Therrien called a Subban late-game turnover against the Colorado Avalanche “selfish” which then prompted a firestorm of media attention.

During all this drama, Subban’s local rapport with Habs fans grew. He donated $10 million to Montreal Children’s Hospital and was a finalist for the NHL’s foundation award.

Subban was also one of Montreal’s top players – winning the 2013 Norris Trophy as the league’s top all-around defenseman. His 0.75 points per-game were tied for seventh in the NHL amongst defensemen last season.

Local reporters in Nashville asked Subban point blank if he felt “unwanted” in Montreal.

“Listen, while I was a Montreal Canadien, there’s nothing but fantastic times for me,” Subban said. “I have to say that out of all the fanbases in the National Hockey League, the Montreal Canadiens’ fans and community and the province of Quebec has probably embraced me more than any other player has felt in any other city. It’s give and take. I’ve done a lot of things in that community and they’ve supported me since the day that I was drafted. So I’ve always felt wanted by the fans and the community there. On the business side of things, the Montreal Canadiens paid me a lot of money two years ago to do what I do for a living. At the end of the day I just wanted to come in and do my job. But obviously right now I’m going to a team that wants me and the Montreal Canadiens felt that they had to take it down a different path.”

In a news conference, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said Subban’s character had nothing to do with the trade.

“In Montreal, the market we’re in, we always look to make a story where there isn’t any, so yes P.K. is different, we’re not going to hide that but there was never an issue, never a problem,” Bergevin said.

He was also asked if going to arbitration with Subban, before the team negotiated his eight-year $72 million contract in 2014, hurt any feelings between the two groups.

“Arbitration is a tool in the CBA players use and clubs use and in that case it was used and P.K. got the contract we gave him and he deserved so that has nothing to do with that,” Bergevin said. “But I understand your question.”

The optics of the trade certainly suggest that the Habs were looking to go a different direction with a different type of elite defenseman.

Subban is seen as both an entertainer and a hockey player whereas Weber’s greatest strength is keeping an even keel on and off the ice over the course of a regular season.

The name of Subban’s game is speed and quickness, while Weber plays with brute power. Subban isn’t afraid to speak his mind, while Weber often stays to team message.

“I understand P.K. is a very popular player and a very likable player. I get all that but our fans are passionate and that’s what makes Montreal a special place,” Bergevin said. “What you get in return is an elite defenseman and is a diamond in the rough and they’ll soon learn to appreciate Shea Weber. A different type of player, but a special type of player as well.”

Picking up Subban adds an asset unlike any the Predators have employed in their history. Not only is he one of the most exciting players on the ice, he’s also a generous soul in the community. Along with giving the massive check to Montreal Children’s Hospital, Subban also rarely turns down a chance to grow the game.

Weber was important in helping the Predators improve their visibility in the Middle Tennessee area, but did so in his own way behind the scenes. Subban is the type of personality that can help the team really compete for media space in a non-traditional market that is ruled by local football.

“I’m excited. I really am excited. I think it is fantastic,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “Every game I’ve ever watched, P.K. Subban, I mean the guys will probably kid you in hockey operations, they will say, ‘P.K. Subban is my favorite player.’ I’m sitting there going, ‘Did you see that, did you see that?’ I’m a general manager but some day, I would like to be a fan. And this is a guy that I would pay money to see. He’s exciting to watch. He does something every game. He competes every game. He shows up every game. I think it is going to be dynamic.”


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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!