Florida Panthers: Does Trading For P.K Subban Make Sense?

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 21: P.K. Subban #76 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena on February 21, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 21: P.K. Subban #76 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena on February 21, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

It’s shaping up to be an interesting offseason for the Florida Panthers. Management has made it clear they will be looking to make big moves to improve the roster, but at what cost?

Every offseason brings a boatload of free-agent speculation and trade rumours. This year is no exception. In fact, with so many names floating around the rumour mill, this summer may shape up to be the most memorable in recent memory. Especially if you’re a fan of the Florida Panthers.

If you haven’t heard yet, the Panthers have made it known that they are looking to make a splash or two in preparation for the 2019-20 NHL season. This is obviously exciting news for a team that’s been deprived of any substantial success since 1996 when the Cats made it to the cup final.

When a name like P.K Subban is being thrown out there as a possible trade candidate, it’s easy to link him to the Panthers.

Dale Tallon is looking to be aggressive and told George Richards of The Athletic that he is looking to add another right-handed, top-four blueliner before the beginning of the season. (note: article is behind a paywall).

Before breaking down what a potential trade could look like, let’s take a look at the salary cap implications courtesy of CapFriendly.com.

Subban has three-years remaining on his contract at $9 million AAV. The Panthers have just shy of $22 million to work with this season, so it could definitely work.

However, for those of you who are hoping that Tallon and friends will be able to acquire both Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin, you could kiss that possibility goodbye.

Not only would acquiring Subban take up a sizable chunk of cap space but with so many cheaper options through free agency, why would the Panthers choose to pay a hefty price to trade for a 30-year-old defenseman?

Yes, Subban is an established NHL star who can provide lots of offensive firepower from the blue line, but he was also voted the most overrated player in the league in a player poll back in February.

The Panthers already have Keith Yandle driving the offense from the back end and Aaron Ekblad potting goals at an impressive rate.

Between the two, Ekblad and Yandle take up nearly $13.85 million a year. Add Subban into the mix and Florida would have just shy of $23 million a year allocated towards just three defenders, making it difficult for Tallon to build a proper cast of supporting players.

Again, there are going to be some intriguing options in free agency that seem better suited to fit Florida’s roster. Anton Stralman, Tyler Myers, and Jake Gardiner will all be looking for new contracts and will demand far less than Subban’s $9 million hit.

Now for the bigger question: what would Nashville ask in return for their star defenseman? P.K is a big deal in that market. He’s always been a colourful, outspoken character and Preds fans love him.

He won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defender in 2013 and currently ranks 31st in NHL history for points-per-game by a defenseman.

That’s pretty good leverage if you’re Predators’ GM David Poile. Nashville will be looking to bolster their top six and could ask for star winger Jonathan Huberdeau in return.

For Panthers fans, it would be a devastating blow to see Huby pack his bags and take his talents to Tennessee, and I for one would not be keen on that trade.

With just one year left on his $5,187,000 contract, Mike Hoffman may be Poile’s desired target.

While parting ways with the 70-point winger may be an easier pill for Cats fans to swallow, Nashville would want more than just Hoffman. Florida would likely have to sweeten the deal with a draft pick or a prospect.

For a Panthers team that has spent a long time searching for a pure goal scorer, trading away their goal-scoring leader after just one season would leave fans with a sour taste in their mouth.

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It’s exciting to see the Panthers plan to be aggressive this summer but they shouldn’t go all-in on P.K Subban. Obviously, he would improve Florida’s back end but with his trade value and lucrative contract, he would create holes in other areas of the Panthers roster. With cheaper options available, Tallon should look in a different direction.