Last week, I wrote about the fallout of the off-season trade of PK Subban by the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. First off, it was a rare trade involving two all-star defensemen and it was straight up. No “throw-in” players involved, no draft picks, no salary was retained.
Habs fans were quite incensed when they heard the news of the trade. I expected many in the media would do their best Stephen A. Smith impression. They would say to themselves: why on earth would General Manager Marc Bergevin give up a talented player like Subban for a veteran who maybe is in the twilight of his career?
Having Weber in the lineup has paid dividends for the Canadiens. Coupled that with a healthy Carey Price in net and the team is off to great start. But the one thing that no seems to realize is that, by trading away a guy almost 4 years younger than the one you got in return, Bergevin has put a value on experience. Sure, a young, talented Subban could have contributed a lot to the Habs. He has already made an impact in the community with his charitable donations. But what the team lacked was maturity and leadership. Those two qualities are hard to come by and that is why Bergevin made the trade.
The Edmonton Oilers have done the same adding the likes of Milan Lucic and Kris Russell to complement Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse, and the other younger players on the team. At the same time, they have jettisoned their once promising superstars in Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov. The Oilers, much like the Habs, are off to a good start to the season. Hall, by the way, was traded to New Jersey on the same day as Subban.
Contrast that to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have an abundant of rising young talent: Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner. The trio will one day be asked to lead the Maple Leafs into the Stanley Cup playoffs. But they will need some veteran experience to help them along the way. If the Buds can add someone like Corey Perry or Zdeno Chara, I can see them going far. But there doesn’t seem to be a rush on the part of management to do that and would rather wait and see how good their current group is before making moves.
Think about this the next time you hear a reporter or writer whine and complain about a team shipping out young prospects for experienced talent: would you rather watch 15-second highlight-reel goals? Or watch a Stanley Cup celebration for hours? The answer is pretty obvious to a hockey fan and sports fans in general.