June 28, 2012

Bruins Development Camp Profile: Malcolm Subban

By Kirk Luedeke & Jesse Connolly

The Bruins kicked off their sixth annual development camp on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena, with just shy of 30 prospects and invitees looking to make a good impression in front of the B’s brass. 

Throughout camp, NEHJ’s Kirk Luedeke and Jesse Connolly will be profiling the participants. First up is Boston’s recent first-round pick Malcolm Subban, who was selected 24th overall by the club on Friday at the 2012 NHL Draft.

Kirk’s Scouting Report

Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
6-1, 195  Dec. 21, 1993 in Rexdale, Ontario
GP 39  MIN 2258 GAA 2.50  SPCT .923  SO 3
Drafted: 1st round, 24th overall, in 2012

Strengths: Tremendous athlete with outstanding reflexes and quickness. Fine flexibility and lower leg power; explodes out of stance and generates superb post-to-post lateral movement. Lower net coverage is excellent, with quick pads and rapid recovery from butterfly. Strong legs and torso allow him to handle crease traffic and maintain his positioning. Very tough to beat on second and third shots because of his reflexes.

Mental toughness and competitive drive a plus- good/popular teammate who maintains an even keel. The second of Karl and Maria Subban's three boys (and five children), Malcolm benefits from strong athletic bloodlines on both his mother and father's side (basketball and track), with one proven NHLer in older brother P.K. and another possibly on the way with younger sibling Jordan. Older sister Natassia was also a standout performer in college hoops finishing as Ontario's all-time leading scorer.

Weaknesses: Raw; switched from defense to goaltender at age 12 and does not have the experience in net of his peers. Technique needs work; glove hand positioning is awkward and opponents have exploited that in the past.

Plays deep in the net and along the goal line. Mediocre puck handler; needs to improve his skills and make better choices when he comes out of the net to play the puck. Susceptible to being back-doored because he tends to over-commit to the puck carrier. Rebound control needs work; kicks shots out in front to the slot for secondary chances.

Projection: Boom-or-bust: No. 1 goaltender and NHL All-Star if he can address his flaws or may not develop into much more than an AHL journeyman with limited NHL time. Given the bloodlines in the Subban family, he very well could be a star in waiting. 

Jesse’s Observations

Aside from being all smiles throughout what seemed like the entirety of the 80-or-so minute session, the biggest thing that stood out about Subban was the B’s newest netminder’s superb performance during a breakaway drill late in the practice.

In 2011-12, Subban was voted the best shootout goaltender in a poll of the OHL’s coaches in the Eastern Conference, as he rocked a perfect 3-0 record and stoned all 12 shooters he faced.

Subban wasn’t able to stop every attempt on Thursday, but it was easy to see why he thrives in such situations. It appears as though even if the net were six inches wider on each side, Subban would still leave squat to shoot at down low when in the butterfly position. Add in his superb speed when it comes to springing from post-to-post and it’s no wonder that few shooters had success in the drill.

One thing that also jumped out was Subban's non-aggressive style. He doesn't budge far from the crease at the start of the shootout, often sagging back quickly to the goal line. Whether in the shootout or not, if he's too deep and goes down too soon, NHL shooters will figure out that Subban's weak spots are high blocker and high glove.

However, by this scribe’s count, only two pucks got past Subban on roughly 15 attempts during the drill. One of them came from Ryan Spooner, whose filthy backhanded move left the young netminder unable to push back to his left in time to make the stop.

Subban Says

On his first day of development camp…

Obviously it’s great to get out with all the guys and just get your first practice over with. It was a really good experience.

On Dougie Hamilton’s (Boston’s first-round pick in 2011) advice to him…

He just said to enjoy it.

On his goals for camp…

Obviously you just want to get your foot in the door and get some experience. You get to see what it’s going to be like at this camp, and get to see what the Bruins are like as an organization.

On his draft experience sinking in…

I’ve still got a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to it.

On how he’d describe his style…

I think I’m athletic and I try to make myself as big in net as possible.

On what the Bruins have told him about their goaltending situation…

Not much yet. I’m just coming here and working my hardest right now. Showing them what I can do is my biggest thing right now. They watched me all year, so they have a good idea, but I want to take it to the next level. I want to show my stuff, that I deserve to be here and I can play.

Kirk Luedeke can be reached at kluedeke@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kluedeke29.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.