By: Joe Travia | Follow me on Twitter @NHLJoeTravia
P.K. Subban in the Black and Gold? It is not as crazy of an idea as it would have been back in the early 2010s when Subban was Public Enemy #1 as a member of the rival Montreal Canadiens. With training camp just around the corner and rosters mostly set, significant transactions are few and far between. At this point of the offseason, teams will start bringing veterans into training camps on Professional Try-Out (PTO) agreements, giving them a chance to earn a contract and make the team. Subban should be in Boston as one of those guys.
To be very clear, the 2022 version of P.K. Subban is a far cry from the player who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman in 2013. Age and physical decline have robbed him of the dynamic talent that had him among the league’s best players, but Subban was still able to contribute a bit offensively for the New Jersey Devils last season as he scored 22 points in 77 games.
From an on-ice perspective, the Bruins would benefit from having another NHL-level right-shot defenseman in camp. Off-season surgeries for Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk, and Mike Reilly, in addition to Jakub Zboril’s continued recovery from a torn ACL last season, will have the team’s depth tested for the first few months of the season.
As things stand currently, the Bruins right-handed defenseman depth to start the season is Brandon Carlo, Conor Clifton, and off-season acquisition Connor Carrick. Not exactly an inspiring group offensively. Though Subban’s power play production has plummeted, his big shot and offensive instincts could give Head Coach Jim Montgomery a right-handed option on the power play to fill in for McAvoy while he gets healthy.
Subban earning a spot in Boston would be a great storyline off the ice. Subban has embraced the city in recent years for a player that was so reviled by the fans. A good friend of the late Jimmy Hayes, Subban has spent a lot of time in the city during recent off-seasons.
There is no risk associated with a PTO. The best-case scenario is Subban comes to camp and earns a spot in the lineup. Worst case, you choose not to sign him and release him with no monetary penalty. Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office should give P.K. Subban a chance.