After some speculation about where he would play in 2022-23, P.K. Subban announced today on his Instagram and Twitter that he’s retiring from hockey after 13 seasons.

The former Nashville Predators (and Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils) defenseman will finish his hockey career with some impressive accomplishments. To go along with his 115 career goals and 352 career assists, he earned three trips to the NHL All-Star game and won a Norris Trophy in 2013.

Subban’s peak years with Nashville came in 2016 and 2017, where he collected 99 points in 148 games and was a crucial part of the Preds’ Stanley Cup run in 2017. He finished 3rd in Norris Trophy voting in 2018, though that was the beginning of the end for Subban’s career.

Multiple injuries began to pile up for Subban in the 2018-19 season, most notably a back/neck issue that plagued him for the rest of his career. He was traded to the New Jersey Devils in June 2019 for very little return as part of a fiscal move by David Poile to clear money to sign Matt Duchene to a seven year, $56 million deal that July.

After three injury-riddled seasons in New Jersey later, Subban calling it a career makes perfect sense. He’s simply not the same player he was in his early 20’s and his quality of life was likely suffering.

But it’s important to remember Subban for what he was at his peak, especially while he was in Nashville.

Subban a superstar in Smashville

P.K. Subban was already a superstar when he was traded to Nashville in June 2016, but he promptly became a southern superstar upon his arrival. From scoring a game tying goal in his debut to his trademark “lasso and arrow” celebration to his entertaining postgame quotes, folks in Nashville got to know P.K. Subban quickly.

Subban’s production on the ice also eased the pain of trading away fan favorite Shea Weber. Trading away a team captain was unprecedented for Nashville fans (though it was not unprecedented for David Poile) and many folks were not too keen on Subban at first. But, obviously, it helps when the new guy is as good as (or even better than) the old guy.

It also helps when you score a goal in your very first game.

During Subban’s time in Nashville, the Preds saw their best two-year peak in franchise history. His defense-to-offense dynamism in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs took the Preds to within one game of winning the Stanley Cup. That continued through to 2018, where his hard work in the defensive zone contributed to Pekka Rinne’s Vezina Trophy win, and the team’s first ever Presidents’ Trophy.

For more big moments, check out this article from 2019, where we compiled the top five moments from P.K. Subban’s career in Nashville. (Trigger warning: Sidney Crosby)

P.K. Subban more than just a hockey player

P.K. Subban was just as impactful off-ice in Nashville as he was on-ice. His “Blue Line Buddies” program was an “ahead of its time” program to bridge the gap between law enforcement and at-risk youth. He routinely helped out in the Nashville community, spreading the wealth he’d made during his NHL career, a trend that he began in 2015 when he donated $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

And we can’t forget about his efforts to combat the continuing problem of racism in ice hockey. Like when he had to defend his brother Jordan Subban or when he texted a video to a 13-year-old hockey player who was dealing with racism.

Anyway you look at it, P.K. Subban was more than just a hockey player. As he said in his retirement announcement, he always viewed himself “as a person who played hockey”, implying that hockey was just one part of a bigger role he played in this world.

When it comes to human beings, there’s not many better than P.K. Subban. His energy and enthusiasm will be missed on the ice, but he already has media gigs worked out and we will likely be seeing and hearing from Subban a lot more in the future.

— Featured image via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports —