Bruins Subban Clearly Not Ready


When the Boston Bruins drafted Malcolm Subban back in 2012, it was clear that the organization wanted to take a chance on him to be the next top developed goaltender in the system, by using their first overall pick to select him. Before being drafted he was with the Belleville Bulls for three full seasons, appearing in 117 games, he posted a 64-42-6 record, a goals-against of 2.60 and a save percentage of .919 during his junior career in the Ontario Hockey League. The 2012-13 season would be his last in the juniors, and his 29-11-4 record, and 2.14 GAA, .934 save percentage, propelled him to number one status, as the best North American Goaltender available in his draft year, and seemed to be the right move for the Bruins, and their future plans in the crease.
After the Bruins agreed to a three-year entry-level deal with him, it was off to Providence, Rhode Island to prepare for life as a professional-prospect playing in the American Hockey League. As a rookie he was put to the test as any aspiring National Hockey League goaltender would be, by playing in 33 games as a rookie, posting a 15-10-5 record.
His first year stat rankings show great potential as he was ranked 5th in goals-against (2.31), 7th in save percentage (.920), and a less than impressive 33rd in wins.
This season the Toronto, Ontario native has appeared in 25 games, and has struggled to compile a 10-10-4 record, with a 2.56 goals-against, and a save percentage of .916 for the PBruins. During the week of January 25th 2015, he was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week, and later seemed to be rewarded with his first NHL call-up with current Bruins backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg being sent down to Providence on a conditioning assignment. Subban would later make his professional debut against the St. Louis Blues, who are ranked second in the Central Division, and currently hold the fifth ranked offense in the league. As many Bruins fans know, Subban did not last long in his debut, as he was pulled in the second period (31min) after giving up three goals on only six shots.

Many seem to speculate, that he was brought up to showcase his talent for a possible future trade, but if that was the case, why not play him against Calgary, or Edmonton which the Bruins played earlier? This certainly did not make any sense to me at all. Why debut a goaltender against one of the better teams in the NHL, when his numbers in the AHL were really not that good to begin with? In the AHL this season he is ranked 23rd in save percentage, 28th in goals-against, and an awful 33rd rank in wins. Do these numbers jump out at you, and question what the organization was thinking when this move was made?

Subban was sent back to the american League and started in a game against the Hershey Bears, where he gave up five goals in and overtime loss, just two days after making his NHL debut against the Blues.
In my opinion, Subban has a long road ahead of him in learning what it takes to be an NHL goaltender, and the fact that he has one more full season left on his current three-year entry-level deal, have many fans questioning his future in the organization. I watch every game, and watch a ton of video on the Providence team, and in my opinion, I just do not see what team management have seen in his development thus far, and really hope that the Bruins did not use him as trade bait from the day he was drafted, because I would hate to think that current Los Angeles Kings left winger Tanner Pearson was in arms reach, before the Kings nabbed the very talented forward at the 30th pick of round one.
My over all thought on Subban’s game is nothing but great potentials, but he does have work to do, no question. With the baby B’s he has a very aggressive game, and is capable of making the first save, but is too far out sometimes to effectively get back to the play. He is very athletic with his 6’-2” 200 pound body frame, and although covers his angles very well, it’s the crease positioning, and commitment of aggressiveness are a work in progress.