PK Subban (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
The blockbuster trade that saw Montreal trade P.K. Subban to Nashville for Shea Weber still has the hockey world talking, but Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has already moved on. He’s looking to the future and believes Weber was a fill a major hole for Montreal.
It was a trade so unexpected it required a double-take when the news broke, but Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin says he’s ready to move on now that the dust has settled on the deal that sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber.
In speaking with NHL.com’s Dave Stubbs, Bergevin said there was much thought that went into the swap of star defensemen with the Predators, but it didn’t take long for him to be all right with the decision. In fact, Bergevin said it was almost immediate, moving on from the trade as soon as it was agreed upon.
As for why he made the trade in the first place, Bergevin said it had nothing at all to do with Subban’s personality — “I always say, ‘You don't want 23 robots,’” Bergevin said — but rather with the chance to really improve the Canadiens.
“Everybody's different, everybody brings different things to the table,” Bergevin told Stubbs. “But at some point I had to make a hard decision where I thought I could make the team better. That's when we pulled the trigger. And those who insist the trade was made to please [coach] Michel Therrien? That's [nonsense]. Mike didn't know anything -- anything -- about the trade until after it was made."
Bergevin got into a bit of background about the deal, too, explaining to Stubbs when the process began and when the final decision was made. The trade talks really started to get underway the day of the draft, Bergevin said, adding Nashville GM David Poile called with the first “‘wow’ deal” the Canadiens had been offered for Subban when he brought up a swap for Weber. Both GMs worked on adding more pieces, but they couldn’t agree on pieces to make the deal larger and eventually landed on the one-for-one deal that shocked the hockey world.
“The last night (June 28), I really had to sleep on it,” Bergevin told Stubbs. “Did I sleep well? No, not really. I got up really early and I had that feeling that this was the deal I had to make. When David and I made contact again (on June 29), it was early afternoon, I knew in my mind that if he agreed, I was going to do it.”
After finally being able to reach both players -- Poile couldn't get ahold of Weber, Bergevin couldn't locate Subban -- the trade was finalized.
The major reasons Bergevin cited for the blockbuster deal was the “credibility” Weber brings to the roster and Bergevin’s belief the defenseman will be able to easily handle the big market. Bergevin told Stubbs that Weber has the disposition that will allow him to thrive with the Canadiens — the burly blueliner won’t be rattled by the pressure of Montreal. Bergevin went so far as to say “nothing’s going to faze” Weber. There’s also the matter of leadership, too, and Bergevin told Stubbs that Weber will come in and immediately have a letter stitched on his jersey.
With Subban gone, there’s an opening for one alternate captaincy. During the 2015-16 season, Max Pacioretty wore the ‘C’ for the Canadiens, with Subban, Andrei Markov, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec switching off as alternate captains. Weber will step in and take the ‘A’ vacated by Subban, Bergevin told Stubbs, which is a decision that Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien have already discussed.
“He'll be a great complement to our captain, Max Pacioretty, and to our leadership group,” Bergevin told Stubbs. “Shea's a big man and he's hard to play against. If you're lined up against Shea Weber, nothing's going to come easy. To me, that's something that we missed last season.”
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