The following two statements are true: New Jersey Devils alternate captain and star blueliner P.K. Subban is, without question, one of my all-time favorite people in the NHL (outside of it, too). And local Boston Bruins reporter Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now is absolutely one of my go-to guys for B’s news and rumors (all of which are taken with a massive grain of salt, of course).
Having said that, Murphy is 100% off his rocker if he thinks that I, or any Bruins fan with working vision (and Internet), wants P.K. Subban patrolling Boston’s blueline at TD Garden, given his declining state of play at present. Simply put, and it pains me to say this, the five-time All-Star is no longer the player he used to be.
Case in point, after a stellar 2017-18 NHL campaign, Subban’s play significantly regressed, slipping from 59 points (16 goals and 43 assists) in 82 games as a third-place Norris Trophy finalist that year to 31 points (9 goals and 22 assists) in 63 games the next in 2018-19.
Boston Bruins should stay away from P.K. Subban in the future
In his first season with the New Jersey Devils in 2019-20, the Toronto, ON native produced the lowest point totals in his 12-year NHL career with just 18 points (7 goals and 11 assists) in 68 games played. And then, of course, this past season the 31-year old posted his second-lowest scoring effort with 19 points (5 goals and 14 assists) through 44 games.
On top of stringing together three poor consecutive seasons offensively, in that same time span, Subban was also backsliding on the other side of the puck as well. By the end of the 2019-20 NHL season, the 6-foot and 210-pound two-way defenseman finished with a surprisingly poor plus/minus rating of minus-21. The following season, though a little bit better but not by much, he was negative yet again at minus-16.
And so, it sucks to write this because P.K. Subban is an all-star in every sense of the word; he gives as good as he gets on the ice and in the locker room. He doesn’t shy away from having difficult conversations or offering strength to the next generation of diverse players when hatred finds them.
He gives back to his communities in big ways and shows young men how to clean up with style and class. He respects both aspects of the game by the way in which he plays and honors the legends of yesterday. But he does not bow to hockey’s ‘yes man’ altar of uniformity that the league’s stuffy culture hawks are hell-bent on worshipping.
Suffice it to say, P.K. Subban was a hell of a player while with Montreal and for two-thirds of his time with Nashville. And he may very well be again for some other team, someday, who the hell knows. But if the last three seasons are any indication regarding his play, then no thanks, and I say that knowing the B’s only option at the third-pair RD spot is the smaller (and way less talented) Connor Clifton.
Subban’s attendance at the memorial for the late Jimmy Hayes earlier this week endeared him to a lot of Bruins fans, no doubt. But if I am being honest, based solely on his last three seasons, this past Monday is about as close to Subban being a Bruin that I want him to be. At least for right now anyway. Come talk to me in a year if I’m going off about Clifton or John Moore being the best the B’s can do at that spot. I likely will be.