WILMINGTON, Mass. — Malcolm Subban likely will be the starting goaltender for the Providence Bruins next season, but for now, his focus lies on improving his skills and conditioning at the B’s development camp this week.
“It keeps you sharp for the rest of the summer and it’s good to get back on the ice and see the guys, it’s a fun camp,” Subban said Tuesday in front to a large crowd of reporters and cameras. “I’m just focused on getting better this summer and competing for a spot in the fall.”
The 2012 first-round draft pick was the backup in Providence last season, but with Niklas Svedberg signing a one-way contract with Boston last month, the expectation is that Subban will take over the No. 1 role in Providence. For him to realize his potential and give the Bruins a large enough sample size to assess his true value, he needs to take on a starter’s workload.
“Only time will tell. I thought I had a pretty good year … there’s still a lot of work to do over the summer,” Subban said when asked about the starting job for the P-Bruins.
“I thought last year was huge for my development, just adjusting to the game and seeing where you belong and what kind of style you need to play. Obviously you don’t want to change too much, I thought I made a couple of adjustments going into the AHL, but I fit in really well.”
Subban went 15-10-5 with a .920 save percentage, a 2.31 goals against average and one shutout in 33 games during Providence’s 2013-14 campaign. In 2012-13, he posted a 29-11-4 record for the Belleville Bulls as one of the OHL’s best goaltenders.
What does he want to work on over the next few months?
“Just to get bigger and stronger, skate a little more,” Subban said. “Be ready for camp when it comes in September.”
“I’m adjusting to the speed a lot more, I feel like my body matured a little bit. I feel a lot more comfortable now as opposed to when I got drafted, I feel like I’m more mature physically and mentally. I think that really helps, especially with the style I play, I’m very athletic.”
Subban’s athleticism allows him to move from post-to-post extremely quick, which along with his excellent glove hand, often results in highlight-reel saves. He’s also poised in breakaway situations and plays the puck well behind or to the sides of his net.
Luckily for the Bruins, they don’t need Subban to develop into a NHL-caliber netminder right now. Tuukka Rask is coming off a Vezina Trophy-winning season and Svedberg should be an excellent backup as a former Baz Bastien Award winner as the AHL’s best goalie. Boston can afford to wait for Subban to fully develop before putting him into an NHL role.
With that said, Subban isn’t going into camp assuming he’ll be the starter in Providence. His eye is on the NHL, as it should be.
“I’m going into training camp to play as well as I can and what happens, happens.”
Whatever the Bruins decide Subban’s role should be in 2014-15, it’s encouraging that the organization has incredible depth and talent at the sport’s most important position.