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Bruins’ Subban faces important developmental season

Jul 13, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits Getty Images

One could make an argument that just about any developmental year is a big one for a young prospect. Even so, that assessment seems appropriate for Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban’s 2014-15 season.

In 2013-14, the 2012 first-rounder battled for AHL starts with Niklas Svedberg. Svedberg now looks primed to replace Chad Johnson as Tuukka Rask‘s backup, so Subban will likely be the go-to goalie for the Providence Bruins.

Subban, 20, described the mental adjustment he made as a backup/1B guy to NHL.com:

“It was challenging, to be honest,” Subban said. “When it’s something you’re not used to, like I’m used to playing a lot of games and being the go-to guy, so it was kind of tough being the secondary guy. But I just had to stay focused mentally. I think that was the hardest thing for me mentally, just to stay focused and to earn my way. And you know you don’t play as much, so you know when you get a chance to play you’ve got to play well, and that’s what I tried to do.”

A potentially challenging road ahead?

Let’s face it: Subban might want to get used to that feeling, even if it might not surface for a while.

As volatile as the goaltending position can be, Tuukka Rask just won his first Vezina Trophy and is only 27. His $7 million cap hit won’t expire until after the 2020-21 season.

The Bruins have to look at Subban as a backup for the medium-term future, at least in their ideal scenarios.

If Subban justifies that first-round selection, he would give the Bruins valuable flexibility. If he takes longer than they’d prefer, his future could be even more fluid.

It makes for an interesting situation overall and may take quite some time to resolve. Still, the talented netminder would do well to make a strong impression next season.

  1. matt14gg - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    The one thing the Bruins have finally gotten a firm grasp on is the fact that goalies take a LONG TIME to develop. Subban is still two seasons away from even challenging for a starting job in the NHL and at that point so many things can change. He may be traded, he may assume the backup job, there could be an injury. The Ducks have mastered the art of goaltending depth, which is part of the reason they’re so successful and the Bruins need to trust the process in the same way. It’s something teams like the Flyers have never figured out. Subban is doing fine and is right on track.

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM

      2 seasons? Try 4, and that’s not a slight to Subban

      • shaundre93 - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Which is perfect, that would put Tuukka at 3 years remaining on that contract. If Subban is a stud and the B’s decide to keep him it would not be hard to move Rask unless he drastically declines. Time will tell though, I’m just happy that I won’t have to worry about goaltending for a long time

  2. matt14gg - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    And by the way, if the Bruins go according to recent practice Subban will get a start or two with Boston next season.

    • shaundre93 - Jul 14, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      Lol, don’t understand all the downvotes… Rask and Svedberg each received a couple spot starts when they were the AHL starters. Would not be surprised to see him get a start or two, especially if there are injuries.

  3. obamareallysucks - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    Sounds like he has a good accounting of himself. Be patient.

  4. govtminion - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    I really, REALLY want to see this kid get a start against Montreal… tell me that won’t be fun to watch. ;)

  5. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Another black Subban? Are they related? Lol

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      I hope you were joking… if not, wait until you hear about Jordan Subban.

  6. thailer35 - Jul 13, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Yandle for subban?

    • thesportsjudge - Jul 13, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      Where would the cap room come from?

  7. jpat2424 - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    7 mil for Rask. Haha

    • shutton83 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:59 AM

      Haha? I’ll take a 7mil hit for the best player at the most important position any day, Tuukka proved the signing was a good one this season.

  8. 34defense2014 - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    matt14gg WHAT? Are you talking about? The Ducks?! They haven’t won anything in years?!?? Wow, that’s a Hs for sure!!

    • matt14gg - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      If you don’t think the Ducks are a “successful” team I’d say you are misinformed…and that’s being nice.

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