Frozen Tools Forensics: Weber Subban Trade Revisited

Grant Campbell


One thing I worry about is passing judgement on a trade, free agent signing, or draft pick too early. We crave instant analysis of events that have yet to happen, and more often than not, we draw conclusions before a game has even been played. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy analyzing these events right away, but it usually takes years to pass true judgement on them, and sometimes there is no clear conclusion.

The Shea Weber and P.K. Subban trade on June 29, 2016, is a deal that had generally been determined a loss for Montreal and Marc Bergevin and put to bed by some. With the current campaign over 30 games in, I wanted to have another look at the deal three and half years in.

When the swap was made in 2016, Weber was a month shy of 31 years of age, the captain, and coming off a 20-goal year with 51 points, while providing a physical element with 169 hits and 160 blocked shots. He averaged over 25 minutes per game and was a fixture on the first unit of the power play on a stacked Nashville defence. He also was signed to a 14-year contract with a $7,857,143 AAV that will be on the books until he is 40.

P.K. Subban was 27 years old and coming off a 51-point season, with six goals, 102 hits and 80 blocked shots. He averaged over 26 minutes per game and was cemented on the first unit of the power play in Montreal. He was just entering the third year of an eight-year deal that had a $9 million AAV.

On the surface, it looked like an even deal, other than perhaps that Weber was older, fading a little, and Subban was seemingly on the rise, with a slightly better contract. Nashville had a lot more depth on defence, so trading Weber actually opened up opportunities for their other skilled defencemen. Montreal didn’t have that luxury, and trading the very popular Subban was heavily scrutinized.

Using the compare player tool in Frozen Tools, we can look at both players year by year or over the past three years as per below: