Staying on the blue line worked out well for P.K. Subban, even if the Canadiens defenseman sometimes gives the impression that he’d rather be a forward with his frequent forays deep into the opposition’s end.
That was never Malcolm Subban’s problem. He was always drawn to his own net instead, and at the age of 12 his parents finally relented to his pleading and let him try his luck in goal.
“I always wanted to be a goalie, and my dad finally gave in and let me play goalie,” Subban said after Thursday’s opening session of the Bruins development camp at Ristuccia Arena. “They wanted me to stay a defenseman, but I’m happy they let me do what I wanted to do all along.”
The change has worked out pretty well. The Bruins selected Subban with the 24th pick of the first round in last Friday’s NHL Draft, 19 spots higher than where the Canadiens took P.K. back in 2007. Malcolm Subban may get more bragging rights against his brother in future years if they end up facing each other on opposite sides of hockey’s oldest rivalry, but for now the younger Subban is just focused on learning all he can in his first taste of pro hockey life at this week’s camp.
At 18, Subban is the youngest of the six netminders attending the camp, but after his late start in goal he’s used to having to catch up to his competition.
“It was a huge adjustment to be honest,” Subban said of the transition to the net. “It was a lot of work, but I’m glad that I pulled through. I guess you could say I had to catch up, but at the end I’m known as a quick learner and I’m happy I took the chance to play goal.”
The Bruins are pretty pleased as well. While they have their immediate future in net covered with Tuukka Rask set to take over as starter with Tim Thomas taking his unexpected sabbatical, Subban suddenly gives Boston an infusion of talent at the position that the club can look toward contributing much further into the future.
“The athleticism you see right away and how quick he is in the net,” Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney said of Subban. “He competes for every puck and every save. Even in the first day in this environment. Most goalies don’t like to be scored on and he’s no different in that regard.”
Subban is different in how he got here though, but the late start in goal and time spent on defense may prove beneficial.
“I think he’s probably a better skater as a result of having started [playing goal] later on,” Sweeney said. “He enjoys the position, I know that. He advocated for it. His father even referenced it when we met him on draft day. He advocated for the position, which in itself shows self confidence, even at a young age that somebody wanted to move, having played out and had some success as a player.”
Subban is confident in his ability, and recognized that his experience as a defenseman has helped him with his puck-handling and skating.
“I guess that helped a lot with my skating ability,” Subban said. “That would be the biggest thing.
“I like to use my reflexes and my flexibility as much as possible,” Subban added. “I can track the puck pretty well.”
Tracking Subban’s path to a potential career as an NHL netminder has been more of a challenge, but it appears he finally found the right route to follow.
Photo via Twitter/Pierre Plante