Poile bold again in Subban trade

- Kevin Allen USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile’s acquisitio­n of P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday in a blockbuste­r trade for his captain, Shea Weber, is a reminder that being careful is not the same as being conservati­ve.

Poile’s close-to-the-vest style is often misread as a cautious approach. Poile is calculatin­g, analytical and thorough in his preparatio­n, but not cautious. Poile is one of the bolder GMs. Starting from when he acquired Rod Langway for the Washington Capitals in 1982, Poile has been unafraid to make deals.

In his time in Nashville, he has persuaded Paul Kariya to sign and traded for Peter Forsberg. Today, GMs constantly say it’s near-impossible to make trades because of salary cap restrictio­ns. Yet in 2014, Poile swapped Patric Hornqvist for James Neal. This season, he traded future top-pairing defenseman Seth Jones for No. 1 center Ryan Johansen. In between, he gave forward Mike Ribeiro a second chance when some teams were unwilling to sign him because of legal issues.

The acquisitio­n of Subban is further evidence that Poile is not afraid to pull the trigger on any deal.

The Predators wanted Subban because he was younger than Weber and his dynamic rushing style was a better fit for Peter Laviolette’s attack-oriented coaching style. Subban didn’t see eye to eye with Montreal coach Michel Therrien, and Subban’s no-trade clause kicks in Friday. For the Canadiens, it was now or never for trading Subban, a very popular player in Montreal.

Weber owns the NHL’s scariest shot, but the Canadiens wanted his defensive prowess and intimidati­ng presence even more. That’s a bitter fit with Therrien’s style.

The Predators had no issue with Weber. He has served his team nobly as a leader and a player. But Poile recognized a good opportunit­y when he saw it.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ march to the Stanley Cup championsh­ip showed that the NHL has become more about speed. It’s not only about how fast you are, but also about how fast you play. Subban can make things happen while jetting up the ice. His talents fit the way the game is heading.

The other truth we learned this spring is that success comes to those who are not afraid to make significan­t changes. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford didn’t like his team speed in training camp and made multiple moves to address that, including several in-season trades.

Poile is 66 and Rutherford is 67, but their horse-trading abilities are back in style. Their knack for completing deals when others can’t might keep them in the game for as long as they want to stay.

 ?? BRUCE FEDYCK, USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Now with the Predators, defenseman P.K. Subban is a popular player whose speed fits in well with today’s game.
BRUCE FEDYCK, USA TODAY SPORTS Now with the Predators, defenseman P.K. Subban is a popular player whose speed fits in well with today’s game.
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