With Tuukka Rask locked up for the next eight years, barring a catastrophic injury it would appear as though the Boston Bruins have their starting goalie for the foreseeable future. With Rask’s play in last year’s regular season and playoffs, no one is surprised the Bruins locked him up long term.
But where does all this leave 19-year old Malcolm Subban? You know the super athletic goaltender whom the Bruins drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft?
The brother of NHL’er and current Norris trophy winner, Malcolm seems a little bit more humble than his brother PK Subban when he honestly answers these questions, “I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get there before that even enters my mind. Right now, it’s getting ready to even contend at that level. I don’t think I’m there yet. I feel like I have a big summer coming ahead. Going from the OHL to the AHL or the NHL is a huge step and that’s my focus right now”.
However, yesterday both Subban and Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney agreed that Subban would skip out on his remaining year of junior eligibility and turn pro. My guess is he’ll most likely play the role of backup in Providence to 22-year old Swedish sensation Niklas Svedberg, who last year proved he is a more than capable goalie at the AHL level. Which is impressive when you realize it was Svedberg’s first full season in North America, kudos to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli who has done a great job in my opinion at building organizational goalie depth.
But getting back to Subban, Sweeney only had words of advice for Malcolm and said the team doesn’t plan on rushing Subban, so he shouldn’t rush himself. “I don’t think he’s in a rush, nor should he be,” Sweeney said. “He should just embrace what’s in front of him in that moment. I think he does a good job at that. I think he’s a really competitive guy, so he’s going to want the net. And you love that in a goaltender.”
Subban had a bit of an up and down year last year, which is fine as growing pains are to be expected of any young and developing player. But the experience he gained last year may prove to be priceless.
Malcolm carried a heavy load on his OHL junior team, the Belleville Bulls, but still posted some impressive numbers while playing on a team with a not-so impressive roster. He went 29-11-4 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .934 save percentage. Subban continued his fine play in the playoffs but it wasn’t enough and his team was eventually eliminated. He also represented Team Canada in net at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships but disappointment struck again when Team Canada didn’t medal in the tournament for the first time since 1998.
“He played a lot of hockey this year,” Sweeney said of Subban. “The experience he went through, being challenged, having a little bit of disappointment, really sets him up well for that next phase of his career. He’s going to go in against much better shooters than what he’s facing on a regular basis, day-to-day practice level. I think he experienced the pressure, now it’s going to continue to go up.”
Bruins’ fans should take notes from the B’s brass and take it slow with Subban. He is still a few years away, but it appears as though he will be worth the wait and with Rask locked up for pretty much the next decade, there really is no need to rush the kid.