Boston Bruins: The Case for Malcolm Subban as Backup Goaltender


Remember that game last year against St. Louis?  The one when Malcolm Subban had a decent first period and then let the next three shots he faced find its way to the back of the net?  The one where he needed Tuukka Rask to bail him out and spent the third period sight seeing from the bench?  Yeah, I’m trying trying to forget about that one too.

Well that’s the only game of NHL experience that any of the three potential backup goaltenders in the Bruins system have combined.  Subban played 35 games in Providence last year, and when the dust settled had a 16-13-4 record, a 2.44 Goals Against Average, and a .921 save percentage.  That’s not terrible, but it’s still significantly worse than Jeremy Smith.

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Malcolm Subban seems to have a lot of work to do on his glove side, and to be blunt, he’s not NHL ready.  Don’t get me wrong, as much as that game he played for the Bruins was an eye opener, I don’t place any stock in what happened in St. Louis.  He was 21 years old playing in his first NHL game.  It was one night.  A really bad one, but it was only one.  I need to see a much bigger sample size before I jump to conclusions about Subban, and I actually think he’s going to be a pretty good goalie in this league.

But not right now.  Even if he has a better camp than Jeremy Smith and Zane McIntyre, I want to give him a full year as the number one guy in Providence before he makes the jump to the varsity squad.  I wouldn’t even be against moving him during the year to pick up a needed piece should the opportunity present itself.  In fact, I think that’s his greatest value to the Bruins now that Zane McIntyre is around to be groomed for the future.

Depth at goaltender is invaluable, but my gut tells me McIntyre is the guy.  Subban is an incredibly valuable card for Don Sweeney to play at some point in a trade.  It would be wise to keep Subban in his back pocket as he develops in the minors, because letting him work through his issues as Tuukka Rask’s backup won’t do anything to help the cause if he wants to deal him eventually.

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With all that said, Malcolm Subban is my least favorite of the three candidates for the backup goalie position.  I think he has a lot to work on, and has more steps to take in the minors before he takes his game to the next level.  I would be very surprised to see him break camp as the Bruins backup goaltender for 2015-16.

Next:  The Case for Zane McIntyre