The 2nd-round of the NHL draft started with a bang. After a quiet first night, the New Jersey Devils got things going when they acquired via trade with the Nashville Predators a top 5 defenseman in P.K. Subban.
There had been rumors out there about the Preds shopping Subban to free up space to sign Matt Duchene. The problem with that was the fact that P.K. is owed $9 million a year and not many teams would be able to work that under their cap.
The Devils were one of the teams that could make that work. Who knew years of underwhelming free agency action would work out in our favor? With the gears in motion and the cap structure in place, the Devils were able to trade for Subban, and not only get a top player on the blue line, but this move also puts many things into motion.
The most important part is what this creates in terms of culture for the organization. This move shows that Ray Shero is moving the team towards winning. We all know how good a player like Subban is. Without gushing over his skills and intangibles, this kind of move is the kind of move that could alter the direction of the team. It could alter, not only the team as a whole, but also what some people on the team may have thought.
This is talking about our MVP, Taylor Hall. At the end of next season, Hall is set to become a free agenct. Up until this point, it was seeming like Hall would seriously be testing the market. You don’t need to hear the long and painful history of the Devils losing players to free agency. That history is what has created the feeling that Hall would be moving on after this year.
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That all changes now. This move now creates a new feeling. It makes it clear to a guy like Hall that Shero is all about creating a win-now culture. This now builds a new level of thinking for Hall. He can look at the bright future in Jack Hughes and see the potential success in P.K. Subban.
This move brings more hope for the future than anything else. Yes, his contract is a big one and yes, we still have to try to pay Hall. But now we have much more of a chance of him saying “yes” to us than we ever did before and that alone makes this move an absolute steal. Now, number 9 can confidently think to himself that New Jersey is a place he can finish his career and win a Stanley Cup.
If anything comes from this trade a year from now, the most important thing is to understand that this has shifted where this club is headed. Ray Shero just told his superstar that this is the place to be, that he can get his money and win his championship right here. He just has to trust him.
When the 2020 FA market closes, I believe Hall will stay with the Devils and I think it all started with this move. This is exactly what a star of Hall’s skill set is looking for. At the end of the day, every big-time player wants to be able to sit back and know his front office has his back and will do whatever it takes to get that guy his chip.
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Look around the league and take the best player from every team and if they were all asked what the most important thing to them is, more than half would tell you its the structure of the management team. All Taylor has to do now is worry about his game, which is exactly the kind of problem he’d like to have. This institutes a level of trust and confidence for him that wasn’t there before and it makes his decision process much less stressful. When we look back on Taylor Hall as a Devil, this day needs to be recognized because it may very well be the reason he stays with them.