Training camps are fast approaching, and PK Subban remains unsigned.
How much longer will that be the case?
While Subban is no longer one of the NHL’s top defensemen, the 33-year-old still has some gas left in the tank as he reaches the twilight of his career, and could assuredly help whichever team is willing to sign him next season.
Where will the former Norris winner land? Let’s take a look at the three best fits.
2022-23 Cap Space: $1,010,834
Name a player whose arrival would do better in building the newest fanbase in the league. I’ll wait.
The Seattle Kraken have made a concerted effort throughout their existence to do the legwork off the ice to lay the roots for a new generation of hockey fans. However, the team on the ice has not exactly pulled its weight, topping out as a thoroughly mediocre and unimpressive unit in its debut season.
Adding PK Subban to the mix would be a jolt to the system, one that just might kill two birds with one stone, too.
Despite being far removed from the Norris-winning form he displayed in his prime, Subban still has something to give in the modern NHL, serving as a puck-moving depth defender who can eat up bottom-pair matchups.
Off the ice, Subban is the consummate team ambassador — a fan favorite wherever he goes who is undeniably the most charismatic personality in the NHL. Having a presence like that around the Kraken as they look to build an enduring fanbase with a much-improved roster could do wonders for the organization’s brand recognition.
If Subban accepts a one-year flier at slightly above league minimum, which seems to be where he’s headed based on the free agent market and the cap crunch felt around the league, the Kraken have just enough space to fit him in.
Frankly, Subban might not even be an everyday player in Seattle. But he doesn’t really need to be. With him on the roster, the Kraken have a player worth marketing and someone capable of stepping into a regular role whenever needed.
2022-23 Cap Space: -$6,321,666
Ovechkin and Subban on the same team would be extremely fun.
At the moment, the Capitals’ right-shot options on D outside of John Carlson and Nick Jensen stand as Trevor van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson, and Matt Irwin.
Frankly, Subban is a better player than that entire trio, and his arrival would inject a healthy dose of levity into a Caps team that is currently reeling from a string of postseason letdowns in recent years, and will be without Nicklas Backstrom for the foreseeable future.
The Capitals need puck movers on the back-end. Subban gives them that and falls in line with the organization’s endless love affair with formerly big-name veterans.
It will be tough to make work on the financial side of things. Washington is already $6 million over the cap with Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and Carl Hagelin’s contracts on LTIR. But that’s never stopped GMs from adding players before. Just look at Tampa. With some cap magic, Subban would look mighty fine in the Nation’s Capital.
2022-23 Cap Space: $19,604,166
Things actually weren’t that bad in Buffalo last season. Hometown kid Alex Tuch fit perfectly into the Sabres’ top six, Jeff Skinner rebounded from a potentially career-ending stretch of dismal play, and Owen Power not only made his NHL debut, but looks like the real deal.
While the playoffs might still be a stretch, there is finally a reason for optimism among the Sabres’ fanbase. And you know who would be the perfect late-summer addition to really drum up excitement?
That’s right! PK Subban.
As it stands, the only right-shot defenders currently on the Sabres’ roster are Ilya Lyubushkin and Henri Jokiharju, none of whom are top-flight options. Neither is Subban, of course, but he’s seemingly a better option for the team’s third pair than forcing Jacob Bryson to play his off side, and would help move the puck up to the Sabres’ exciting core of forwards with his mobility and resilient stretch-pass acumen.
Not to mention, the Sabres can actually afford him with their upwards of $19 million in cap space, perhaps even making them capable of giving Subban the most lucrative offer he’s bound to get on the open market.
It just seems like a good fit, doesn’t it? Bring PK back to the Atlantic Divison.