It seems hard to fathom that any team would be actively looking to trade a Norris Trophy winner who also donated $10 million to a children’s hospital, but that’s where the Montreal Canadiens appear to be at. This couldn’t come at a better time for the Edmonton Oilers who have been looking for a true No. 1 defenceman since Sheldon Souray’s only good season in Edmonton in 2008-09.
Is Subban a little flashier than most players in the NHL? Sure. Does he like to celebrate goals? Of course! But if that’s the worst thing about him than it doesn’t make much sense why these trade talks are even happening. This is a story that will not go away until July 1 when Subban’s no movement clause kicks in. Odds are that the Canadiens will end up patching things up with their franchise defenceman and all of this will be forgotten in a year. But for the sake of argument, I will look at what it would take for the Oilers to pry Subban out of Montreal in this post.
First off, it would be nearly impossible for the Canadiens to get fair market value for Subban. But if they seriously want to move him, then maybe the Oilers could put together a package. We all know that the first player Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin would be asking Oilers’ GM Peter Chiarelli about is Taylor Hall. I’m as big of a Taylor Hall fan as anyone and it would hurt to see him leave the organization that he has given everything to for the past six years without ever playing a playoff game in Edmonton, but it will likely take Hall plus others to pull off this deal.
Perhaps the Canadiens would have some interest in bringing in Nail Yakupov? Ironically, there were rumours prior to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft that the Canadiens had offered Subban, who was coming off a sophomore campiagn that saw him produce 36 points in 81 games, to the Oilers for the first overall pick. This would have given the Canadiens the chance to select Yakupov as well as his best friend and former Sarnia Sting teammate Alex Galchenyuk. In retrospect, 2012 would have been the year for the Oilers to make such a trade. I had no interest in them trading the first overall pick in 2010 or 2011 when they drafted Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. A Yakupov trade, would reunite him with his former teammate and possibly get his NHL career back on track.
The Canadiens would likely want a defenceman back as well and the names they would be most interested in would be Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom. I can’t see the Oilers trading away Nurse after one season, despite hiss struggles as a rookie or a guy that they locked up to a seven-year extension last fall. This could be where Chiarelli draws the line in the sand in negotiations with Bergevin.
In reality, the Oilers will probably spend more time pursuing trade targets like Travis Hamonic or Sami Vatanen this off-season, but neither of those players comes close to holing the value that a player of Subban’s ilk would bring to the struggling Oilers. Also, with Connor McDavid expected to be the highest paid player in the game by 2018-19, adding a $9 million defenceman might not make sense for the Oilers.
Assuming the Oilers don’t end up winning any of the three lotteries this year, my best trade offer would be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and the first round pick in 2016 for Subban. Maybe they throw in a prospect, too? Either way, Subban is who Oilers fans really care about. It would be a little premature to put his nameplate on a stall in the Oilers new dressing room at Rogers Place, but they should have a few No. 76 jerseys ready to go for fans just in case.