|After overcoming injury, Malcolm Subban must overcome signing of Anton Khudobin for NHL job||07.12.16 at 2:21 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Two days after Malcolm Subban suffered a frightening throat injury in warmups of a Feb. 6 game for the Providence Bruins, David Pastrnak relayed that he’d talked to Subban and that the goaltender was in good spirits.
The right wing quickly clarified that the communication had taken place over text, as Subban wasn’t doing much talking after a puck hit him in the throat during warmups. In fact, Subban went what he estimated to be over two weeks without being able to speak before finally grunting out his first words (asking his parents for permission to buy a car).
Now, after working his way back from a five-day hospital stint that included surgery on a fractured larynx and one and a half days with tubes down his throat, the Bruins’ 2013 first-round pick is in town for development camp and hopes to pick up where he left off prior to the injury, which was the highest point of his pro career.
Though Subban’s numbers on the season were underwhelming — a .911 save percentage in 27 games played, marking a step back from his .921 mark over 35 games the season before — Subban had a .939 save percentage over his previous seven games leading up to the injury and, had he kept up the pace, could have challenged NHL backup Jonas Gustavsson late in the season.
“He was progressing great,” Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo said after Tuesday’s development camp, which saw Subban work with B’s goaltending coach Bob Essensa. “It was unfortunate the injury he had and having to miss half the season. He was definitely on the right track.”
Yet while the obstacle of his injury is gone, a new one has been presented in former Bruins’ backup Anton Khudobin, whom the team brought in on a two-year contract on the first day of free agency. Though Khudobin’s signing could have also been a move to give the team protection against losing Subban or Tuukka Rask in next offseason’s expansion draft, it also puts a player ahead of Subban on the depth chart.
“I’m not too focused on anything else that goes on in the organization,” Subban said of the Khudobin acquisition. “It’s all just about playing my game and trying to make sure I’m ready to go and I can go [do] whatever they want me to do. That’s where my focus is going into camp.”
If Subban doesn’t make the team as Rask’s backup, he would spend a fourth year in Providence, likely splitting time again with fellow prospect Zane McIntyre. Yet Subban feels he’s close to being NHL-ready, even if free agency made his road to the NHL a little tougher.
“I feel every year [there’s competition for the backup job],” Subban said. “Look at Tuukka. I’m sure he thinks of all of us as competitors, too. It’s healthy competition. That’s what you need it to be.”
|Bruins development camp commences||at 11:53 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Who looks good out there?
Bruins development camp got underway on Tuesday, with a smaller group than years past taking the ice at Ristuccia Arena.
Though the roster for the camp isn’t huge (26 players), it’s loaded with intriguing prospects, such as Danton Heinen, Malcolm Subban, Brandon Carlo, Jake DeBrusk and 2016 first-round pick Charlie McAvoy.
Daniel Vladar and camp invite Stephen Dillon were the only goalies to participate in Tuesday’s practice, though Subban and Zane McIntyre were on the ice earlier in the day. All expected skaters were on the ice with the exception of 2016 second-round pick Ryan Lindgren, who had a class commitment at the University of Minnesota. Lindgren will arrive in Boston Tuesday and join the other prospects Wednesday.
|10 ‘players to watch’ at Bruins development camp||07.11.16 at 2:27 pm ET|
The worst question a Bruins fan can ask during the team’s annual development camp is a totally understandable one:
“Who looks good?”
That’s always a tough question to answer because of what the camp is: a few days of guys doing drills, seeing the city and getting to know the organization. Given that the camp is an assortment of prospects of varying degrees, it’s easy to get carried away with “who looks good” because some players are skating with kids who are either quite a bit younger than them or a lot further away in their development. For example: Is soon-to-be 24-year-old Zane McIntyre going to look good facing shots against some 18-year-old defensemen? Probably.
This camp is the athletic equivalent of a checkup, rather than an actual competition to make the NHL team. That said, it will be worth checking in with a number of Boston’s prospects when the on-ice portion of camp gets underway Tuesday. While keeping in mind that two of the team’s prospects won’t be there in Zach Senyshyn (mono) and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (a number of reasons the team listed: school, family, travel), here are 10 players to watch this week:
Danton Heinen, Forward, Providence (AHL)
The Bruins need right wings like you read about and the left-shot forward has experience playing both sides. The B’s got him to go pro after his sophomore year at the University of Denver, so he’s a good bet to play in Providence this season unless things get dire in Boston.
A fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft, Heinen is considered a natural scorer whom prospects ace Kirk Luedeke (who knows more about these kids than the Bruins beat guys because he watches them) feels can push 30 goals at the NHL level some day. He put up 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists) in 40 games as a freshman and 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 41 games as a sophomore. The Bruins aren’t overflowing with high-end right wing prospects who are relatively close to pushing for an NHL job, but Heinen is perhaps the most intriguing.
Brandon Carlo, Defenseman, Providence (AHL)
A defensive defenseman, the 6-foot-5 righty is probably the closest of all of the Bruins’ 2015 draft picks to reaching the NHL. The B’s see him becoming a better Adam McQuaid, which begs the question of how many more seasons McQuaid will spend in Boston.
Zane McIntyre, Goalie, Providence (AHL)
Last offseason, McIntyre was considered quite the get when he chose to sign with the Bruins rather than becoming a free agent. It wouldn’t have been Vesey-Level, but the 2015 Hobey Baker finalist was an in-demand prospect coming out of North Dakota. Splitting time with Malcolm Subban in Providence, McIntyre was underwhelming as a first year pro, posting an .898 save percentage over 31 games. Though this will be his seventh development camp, he’s still just 23 (24 next month) and has plenty of time to continue developing.
Jeremy Lauzon, Defenseman, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
While Carlo gets the hype, some observers will tell you that Lauzon, who was chosen 15 picks later, is the better prospect. He’s got good size (6-foot-2, 193 pounds) and put up 50 points (10 goals, 40 assists) in 46 games in the QMJHL last season. Luedeke says he’s a ways away from the NHL, but believes the lefty’s ceiling is sky-high. Read the rest of this entry »
|Jonas Gustavsson not cleared to play; Malcolm Subban will back up Tuukka Rask||02.02.16 at 11:39 am ET|
Jonas Gustavsson took a positive step Tuesday by facing shots in the Bruins’ morning skate, but he will remain on injured reserve when the B’s host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.
“Cleared to practice, not to play,” Claude Julien said of the goaltender, who is recovering from an elevated heart rate.
With Gustavsson remaining out, Malcolm Subban will be Tuukka Rask‘s backup Tuesday night. Based on morning skate, the lineup figures to be as such:
|Bruins place Jonas Gustavsson on IR, recall Malcolm Subban and David Pastrnak||02.01.16 at 1:54 pm ET|
The Bruins made some roster moves upon returning from the All-Star break, most notably by placing goaltender Jonas Gustsavsson on injured reserve and recalling Malcolm Subban from Providence. David Pastrnak, who was sent to Providence to play games during the break, was also recalled.
Gustavsson had a health scare in last Tuesday’s contest agains the Ducks, as he left the game after one period due to an elevated heart rate and was taken to Mass General hospital. After spending the night in the hospital, he was discharged when preliminary tests came back negative. In a statement released Monday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that Gustavsson was only on IR pending final test results and that the team would take him off upon clearance. Because Gustavsson last played last Tuesday and All-Star break days can count as retroactive IR days, Gustavsson could potentially be able to come off IR as early as Tuesday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
The 30-year-old netminder has had three different heart procedures since coming to the NHL in 2009. He was on the ice prior to Monday’s practice working with goaltending coach Bob Essensa, but did not appear to be facing any shots. Instead, Gustavsson worked on positioning and puck management outside the net.
Adam McQuaid, who has been out since Jan. 5 with an upper-body injury and remains on IR, also skated Monday. The 29-year-old blueliner took passes from strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides in addition to skating and shooting.
Both Subban and Pastrnak were present for Monday’s practice. It is unclear how long the Bruins will keep Gustavsson out for, but Subban’s recall could potentially give him the opportunity to play his second NHL game. In his only NHL game to date, Subban only faced three shots in the first period, stopping them all, but then allowed goals on the first three shots he saw in the second period before getting pulled against the Blues on Feb. 20.
In 26 games for Providence tis season, Subban has a .913 save percentage, a 2.45 goals against average and one shutout, all of which lead the Baby B’s. The Bruins’ next three games see them host the Maple Leafs and then play the Sabres twice, so if the team were inclined to give him a start, at least it would be in one of their schedule’s more manageable games.
|Bruins send Malcolm Subban, Zane McIntyre to Providence, return early draft picks to junior clubs||09.27.15 at 3:15 pm ET|
The Bruins have made another round of cuts, most notably sending goaltenders Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to Providence.
Also sent to Providence were Noel Acciari, Chris Breen, Anthony Camara, Brandon DeFazio, Justin Hickman, Zane McIntyre and Ben Sexton. The B’s sent first-round picks Jakub Zboril (Saint John of the QMJHL) and Jake DeBrusk (Swift Current of the WHL), as well as second-rounder (Tri-City of the WHL) back to their junior teams. Fifteenth overall pick Zach Senyshyn was sent back to his OHL club (Sault Ste. Marie) earlier in the week.
Free agent defenseman Ben Youds was released from camp and will attend Providence’s training camp.
Though McIntyre and Subban could still be brought back up (a la Ryan Spooner last training camp), it would appear that Jeremy Smith and Jonas Gustavsson are now the finalists to be Tuukka Rask‘s backup.
|Malcolm Subban off to good start on road to redemption||09.22.15 at 11:18 pm ET|
Malcolm Subban had just one opportunity to make a National Hockey League impression last season, and the resulting impression was not a good one.
After stopping all 17 pucks he faced on Tuesday night at TD Garden, Subban improved his chances at getting some redemption opportunities in 2015-2016.
It was only half of a pre-season game, of course, but it’s a start.
“It felt pretty good,” the Boston goaltending prospect said of his 29:43 of ice time in a Bruins 2-1 overtime victory against the Washington Capitals. “To be honest, [I was] maybe a little nervous at the start because from the start of [training] camp up until this game I didn’t feel at my best in practice. I didn’t feel too good like I was tracking the puck [well] but thankfully it all came together tonight and I thought I played pretty well.”
Subban, 21, looked focused throughout his period-and-a-half of action, with perhaps his best save coming on a second period penalty-kill deflection and ensuing skirmish in front.
“I thought Malcolm was really good at times there where he was flooded with some shots,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He made a couple of big saves.”
Boston’s first-round selection (24th overall) of the 2012 draft, Subban made his NHL debut last year on February 20 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis and gave up goals on three straight shots in the second period before being pulled. It sent Subban back to the drawing board this offseason, with the help of goaltending coach Bob Essensa.
“In that game, I felt all the goals I was way too deep on,” Subban said. “Even though some of them might have been a tip or a screen, I felt I was too deep and didn’t give myself a chance to make the save. It wasn’t just that game, it was in the AHL, too. I felt the goals that were scored I was too deep. I’ve worked on that with Bob. That’s the biggest thing I need to work on, using my speed a bit more.”
Subban’s athleticism has always been one of his biggest assets, and he’s learning when to unleash it.
“I felt I could have played the puck a lot better,” Subban said of his Tuesday performance, admitting that he tends to be critical of himself after games. “I was challenging too early, so by the time they started to rim the puck I was way too far out and couldn’t get to it. [But] I felt I had pretty good rebound control. One squirted out in the first but other than that I was putting them into the mesh or the corner, or smothering them, so not too much was going on in front which helps the ‘D’ out a lot. It helps us get the puck out and not be trapped in our zone.”
The battle for Tuukka Rask‘s backup will continue throughout the next few weeks of Bruins’ camp, with Jeremy Smith, Zane McIntyre and Jonas Gustavsson his competition. Although Subban is aware of the job that is up for grabs, he’s trying to stay focused on himself.
“You look around too much, you forget you’ve got to do the same job,” Subban said. “I’m trying to play my game. Obviously it’s a great competition for the guys to push you, knowing that these guys are competing for the same job, but at the same time we’re all trying to help each other.”
And if he wins the job, he’s ready for the redemption story to begin.
“It’s the mentality you’ve got to have, whether it comes or not,” said Subban. “You’ve got to be ready. I felt I had that chance last year and wasn’t ready so, I’m looking forward to this year and made the necessary adjustments and hopefully I can make a better opportunity.”