The Boston Bruins are in a great position, goaltender wise. Tuukka Rask is signed long term and is one of the best netminders in the league. Zane McIntyre is coming to the team after a stellar career with North Dakota in college.
The question is, where does this leave Malcolm Subban?
The 21 year old Subban showed tremendous promise in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins. He won 16 games and emerged as their starting goaltender. Where he struggled, however, was in his one NHL game against the St Louis Blues.
“It was good to see [Subban] on the ice and in between periods that he was really into it. Sometimes Malcolm loses his focus, and that’s been our issue. Tonight it seemed like he was going to be there until the bitter end, and it was going to have to be a hell of a shot to beat him…just like [the Seth Griffith’s game-winning] shot.” Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told CSNNE.com.
It is not the norm for young goalies to have immediate success, so there should not be any long term concern about Subban’s one NHL performance. In that game, he allowed three goals on three shots at the beginning of the game from the Blues. At 21 years old, it is not a huge deal if he is not NHL ready yet.
Especially now that McIntyre is in the mix, Subban has a chance to develop without much pressure. This also preserves value for Subban. When Subban struggled at the NHL level, there was concern that his trade value would diminish. If Subban can stay at the AHL level and play well, that would only help any value if the Bruins were to go down that road.
However, Subban is also insurance for McIntyre, who will be seeing his first NHL action as well after graduating from college. Subban is arguably the top goalie prospect in all of hockey, and he’s proven he can play at least at the AHL level. Now, the Bruins have to determine what they believe his role will be long term, especially since they have Rask locked up long term.