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Malcolm Subban wants to show Bruins he can be an NHL goaltender

05.15.17 at 10:10 pm ET
Malcolm Subban is still looking for his NHL breakthrough. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Subban is still looking for his NHL breakthrough. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Drafted with the 24th overall pick in 2012, it doesn’t feel as if Bruins netminder Malcolm Subban is any closer to the NHL as he was then.

Even if the 23-year-old Subban has skated in two NHL games.

“My two outings weren’t very good — they were terrible, to be honest,” Subban, currently the No. 4 goalie on the B’s depth chart, admitted to the Boston Globe. “I am trying to prove to everyone here that I can play, that I deserve to play, and that I want to play in the NHL.”

It’s been two games, and two early exits for Subban.

His first NHL chance came back on Feb. 20, 2015, where Subban was lifted after he allowed three goals on six shots in a 31-minute loss to the Blues. Subban had to stew in the AHL for another season plus before his next shot came, on Oct. 25, 2016 against the Wild. That one didn’t go much better, and Subban was once again lifted early, this time after he allowed three goals on 16 shots thrown his way in 30:36 of action.

And when Anton Khudobin was waived, it was Zane McIntyre, not Subban, that was given the chance at the B’s backup job.

Still, Subban wants to make his mark with the Bruins.

“Boston is the team that drafted me, and obviously it’s the team I want to play for,” Subban said. “When a team uses a first-round pick on you, it’s a pretty big deal in terms of an investment. I feel I kind of owe it to them and to the fans to show what I can do.”

But is there room for Subban with the Bruins?

A restricted free agent this summer, and with Tuukka Rask the obvious pick for expansion draft protection by the Bruins, Subban will be exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights, and it’s possible (although a bit unlikely given what else is at their disposal) that Vegas views Subban as a high-ceiling goalie worthy of the designation as the organization’s third goaltender. And if he’s retained by the Bruins, either with a contract or with Vegas picking somebody else, Subban will get his chance in training camp.

“Anton is firmly in the mix — you look at what he did down the stretch, and how could he not be? But that’s the goalie we need,” Sweeney, whose team is set to enter their fourth year of trying to find rest for Rask, who played in 65 games last season, said. “I can’t have any doubts or reservations, so we’re going to meet as a group and make sure that we’re making the right decision.

“If somebody passes Anton, be it Zane or Malcolm, then we move in that direction as well. But we’ve been patient from the development standpoint of trying to look internally, and it’s a position that we’ve sort of been chasing our tail a little bit for a couple of seasons now and very aware of it, do not run from it, and I’d like it to be resolved.”

Despite his forgettable NHL dips, Subban successfully rebounded from a terrible start and recorded 11 wins and a .917 save percentage in 32 games this year, and has recorded 56 wins and a .918 save percentage in 127 AHL contests.

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