Fantasy Take: Devils Taking On Subban

by Ian Gooding on June 22, 2019


The Nashville Predators have traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for for defensemen Steven Santini and Jeremy Davies, a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Subban had a down season in 2018-19 with just 31 points (9g-22a) in 63 games. Even in spite of injuries that cost him nearly 20 games, Subban was on pace for a sub-40-point season. That was not nearly enough to justify the top-50 pick that was used on him in many fantasy drafts. There are rumblings that Subban can’t skate as well as he used to, with few teams besides the Devils with the cap space to be able to handle the $9 million per season price tag. However, he will have less competition for top-unit power-play minutes on an up-and-coming team.

Subban should be able to bounce back to some degree, although how much that will be is up for debate. He will be on a power play that should feature Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier, and eventually Jack Hughes. That will likely bump Will Butcher and to a lesser degree Damon Severson down the pecking order. Subban will be given the prime opportunity out of the gate, but if his 2018-19 results are a sign of things to come, Butcher and/or Severson might be back on the top power play on a Devils’ team that will have more firepower than is usually the case in Jersey.

Subban’s departure should clear space for Dante Fabbro (Dobber Prospects profile here), who signed with the Predators late in the season following the end of his college season. Fabbro will likely be eased in on the defensive-conscious Predators, but at least we shouldn’t be waiting for him to finally crack the NHL. He might also sneak onto the second-unit power play.

Since the trade was basically a salary dump for the Predators, we have yet to see how their final roster will look. They are reportedly targeting Matt Duchene, who would likely slot in on the top-unit power play should the Preds land him. With the Preds’ power play needing drastic improvement (12.9 PP%, last in NHL), the coaching staff will need to give serious thought to major changes, which could include using four forwards and one defenseman on the first unit. However, if a 3F-2D arrangement remains, Ryan Ellis could be a major benefactor. Mattias Ekholm, who had a career-high 44 points in 2018-19, could also be a candidate to move up.

Of course, for that power play to improve, the Predators have to score big in free agency. There are plenty of lesser options after Duchene, of course, should the Preds have to resort to a Plan B. Without an upgrade at the forward position that can help scoring as a whole, though, the potential that the Preds’ blueliners listed below are helped is minimized.

Players this helps, in order:

Fabbro

Ellis

Ekholm

Roman Josi

Players this hurts, in order:

Butcher

Severson

Sami Vatanen

Fantasy owners are already discussing the deal on the Forum – give your take here!