|How Victor Hedman plays into Dougie Hamilton conversation||06.09.15 at 1:06 pm ET|
Victor Hedman has most definitely arrived. His sixth season in the NHL, despite an injury detour early in the season, has cemented his status as one of the top defensemen in the league. The Bruins could use someone like that, and they can only hope Dougie Hamilton becomes such an impact player.
They can do more than hope, actually. They can look at the players’ career paths and project accordingly.
Like Hamilton, Hedman is a big, skilled, offensively creative defenseman whose detractors note a lack of physicality. He was also a top prospect in his draft (second overall in 2009).
Hedman’s bigger than Hamilton; he’s 6-foot-6 and, after coming into the league at 220 pounds, is now listed at 230 pounds. Hamilton is 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds. He could stand to continue to bulk up.
Yet where Hamilton has Hedman — and pretty much everyone — is how his career has begun. If Hamilton has reached his ceiling, he’ll be a solid player who has a solid career. There’s little reason to think that, however, as he has outperformed plenty of great defensemen who ascended to stardom after their first three seasons.
Back in April, we compared Hamilton to P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Pietrangelo, looking at the how they performed in their entry-level contracts and noting the contracts those players got. Given that Hedman has become one of the top young blueliners in the game, it’s worth revisiting with his numbers as well.
|Why Bruins should extend Dougie Hamilton for as long as they can||04.17.15 at 1:41 pm ET|
On Friday the Stars announced a seven-year extension with an annual cap hit of $4.25 million for John Klingberg, a promising defenseman coming off his entry-level deal. This offseason the Bruins ideally would use Klingberg’s contract as a template for Dougie Hamilton’s next deal. Hamilton’s camp likely will have other comps in mind.
One of those comps wears No. 76 for the Canadiens. You may have heard of him.
When it comes to Hamilton’s worth at the end of his entry-level deal, P.K. Subban is a very realistic comparable. Just look at their numbers through each of their first contracts:
In terms of points per game, Hamilton also is in some pricey company:
Hamilton will become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Bruins probably want to give him a long-term deal, but if he takes a shorter deal and gets to sign his third contract soon, he could potentially make a lot more money.
That’s what happened with Subban. The Canadiens were actually unwilling to give him the long-term deal he wanted after his entry-level deal expired, so he took a two-year deal worth just $2.875 million per. Subban shoved that in Marc Bergevin’s face by winning the Norris in the first year of that deal and later cashing in with an eight-year deal with an annual cap hit of $9 million.
The Bruins should avoid that scenario at all costs. Hamilton already is the Bruins’ second-best defenseman and easily is worth $5 million a year, and probably more.
The Bruins should give Hamilton a number that high for as long as he’ll take. Seven years at $5 million-plus per would buy out three years of unrestricted free agency, delaying perhaps Hamilton’s biggest payday until he is 29.
Because of that, Hamilton’s camp will demand more per year the longer the deal goes. A shorter deal will mean a smaller cap hit, as Hamilton will easily make up that money in free agency sooner if he gets there. Read the rest of this entry »
|Will Malcolm Subban’s first NHL start come against Canadiens?||02.05.15 at 9:20 pm ET|
Malcolm Subban is due for a start somewhere.
When the Bruins recalled their 2012 first-round pick last week, it was a fun story as the second-year pro got his first regular-season taste of the NHL. All these days later, the fact that he lasted past last weekend (the anticipated length of his callup) brings something else to light: The kid is going on two weeks without playing a game.
That’s the longest stretch this season that Subban, who last played on Jan. 24 for Providence, has gone out of game action since a lower-body injury cost him time in mid-November.
The Bruins have a three-game homestand coming up, including a tough back-to-back against the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend. Asked whether Subban would get one of the starts, Claude Julien responded Thursday with his signature “we’ll see, guys” answer.
To give any goaltender their first NHL start in a Bruins-Canadiens game is the definition of throwing someone into the fire. Add in that Malcolm’s older brother P.K. is Montreal’s Norris-winning assistant captain, and a potential start Sunday would be quite the event. Malcolm admitted his parents would be on the next plane to Boston should it be the case, but he isn’t looking that far ahead.
“It would be pretty cool, but I’m not thinking into it too much,” Malcolm said Thursday. “Just trying to stay focused. Whenever my opportunity comes, hopefully I’ll be ready.”
The Bruins have played Tuukka Rask in both games of four different back-to-backs this season, so the fact that a backup (whether Subban or, should they return him to Providence, Niklas Svedberg) plays this weekend is far from a guarantee. The Canadiens angle does make it interesting from a game plan standpoint, however.
Rask has started two games against the Canadiens this season and is 0-2-0 with seven goals allowed. He was pulled from the teams’ first meeting this season after allowing five goals in an eventual 6-4 loss. The Bruins gave Svedberg the start in Montreal on Nov. 13, with Svedberg surrendering five goals on 34 shots.
The small chance that Subban could begin his NHL career in a Battle of the Subbans comes down to the Bruins’ philosophy with Rask and the Canadiens. Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world and he doesn’t win a lot against Montreal (3-12-3 lifetime in the regular season). The fact that Rask is one of the best goaltenders in the world is not going to change, but the Bruins can take the Rangers/Henrik Lundqvist approach by simply hiding their star goaltender from the Habs. That worked when the Rangers beat the Habs in six games in the Eastern Conference finals last spring.
So it’s possible that the back-to-backs and Rask’s history could combine to make Subban’s dream debut take place, but it’s also worth considering that the Bruins prioritize their game plan over the neat story. Just ask Michigan native Steven Kampfer, who brought his family to his Joe Louis Arena homecoming when the Bruins faced the Red Wings in 2011, only to learn the night before the game that the B’s would be making him a healthy scratch for the game.
Whether or not Subban plays during this callup or at any point in Boston this season, the 21-year-old has enjoyed his brief NHL stint thus far. He’s seen the improved competition in practice and thinks the non-training-camp exposure to working life in the NHL has been a learning experience.
“Those shots that he’s getting here should be a little bit higher grade than what he gets over there, for obvious reasons,” Julien said. “It’s a good experience for him. We’re trying to groom him into being the goaltender that we expect him to be, and you’ve got to take some steps to do that. This is one of the steps that was part of grooming him.”
|Maria Subban continues to root for Bruins and Canadiens||11.22.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
Maria Subban is one of a small number of people in the world who can claim to be a loyal fan of both the Bruins and the Canadiens. As long as her sons wear their respective team’s jerseys, she will not pick a side.
In town with the Canadiens as part of a mothers’ trip, the matriarch of one of hockey’s most talented families said Saturday that she’s proud of what sons P.K. and Malcolm are doing with the Habs and Bruins, respectively.
“I think it’s great,” Maria said. “I think both organizations are wonderful organizations.”
The Bruins made Malcolm something of a surprise pick in 2012 when they chose the Belleville Bulls goaltender 25th overall. The pick turned heads not only because the Bruins appeared to be set at goalie long-term with Tuukka Rask, but because of his relation to the Montreal defenseman.
P.K. is probably the Derek Jeter or Bernie Williams of the Bruins-Habs rivalry in that the boos he receives at TD Garden only thinly cover up Boston fans’ longing to see him in a Bruins sweater. With P.K. in the first year of an eight-year contract with the Habs, it’s safe to say Boston fans won’t be getting their wish, even if they’ll never admit to having it.
Malcolm, on the other hand, could very well play in Boston one day. He’s currently in his second season in Providence, though he’s currently battling a lower-body injury.
“I think he was really surprised, because of P.K. and Boston, but he’s happy and he loves it there,” Maria said. “He’s doing really well.”
Through nine games, Malcolm is 4-3-1 with a .923 save percentage and 2.59 goals-against average. P.K. admitted that in addition to keeping in touch with Malcolm and Jordan (a 19-year-old fourth-round pick of the Canucks still playing in Belleville of the OHL), he’s eager to see how they’re performing as well.
“I always know a little bit about each of them, what’s going on,” P.K. said. “Obviously to me, they’re my brothers. I don’t know how much I pay attention to the hockey side of thing [vs.] them actually being my brothers. They’re family, so obviously I always talk to them. My parents should be proud of not just all three boys, but all five kids, and my sisters as well.”
The Bruins appear set at backup goaltender with Niklas Svedberg, but Malcolm could begin to knock on the NHL‘s door in the coming years. That means that one day Maria will have her hands full when she makes her trips to the Garden.
“I’ll root for both of them. You’ve got two kids; you’ve got to root for both of them,” she said. “You can’t pick or choose, otherwise I’m going to be a hated mom.”
|P.K. Subban gets picture taken with Bobby Orr: ‘He truly is the best defenseman to ever play the game’||at 12:47 pm ET|
P.K. Subban is one of the most talented defensemen in the NHL and, at age 25, already has one Norris Trophy to his name. No accomplishment, however, will ever make him too cool to ask Bobby Orr for a picture when he gets the chance.
With the Bruins great in the building Saturday morning to take in Montreal’s morning skate, Subban crossed paths with the Hall of Famer, asked for a photo and took to Instagram.
Orr strolled through the media room shortly after the photo was posted. Asked whether he or Subban had requested the photo, Orr simply laughed. Subban put that mystery to rest quickly after Montreal’s morning skate.
“Oh no, it was definitely me who asked for the picture. He’s the legend, right? I posted as soon as I got it on Instagram,” Subban told WEEI.com. “It’s pretty special for me as a defenseman to be able to interact with someone as great as Bobby Orr. He really truly is the best defenseman to ever play the game. I’m very lucky to still be able to see him around and talk to him.”
Added Subban: “It’s funny, I met him when I was 15 — that was 10 years ago – and he looks exactly the same. He hasn’t changed at all. I don’t know what he’s doing, but he should keep doing it.”
|If Tuukka Rask plays, P.K. Subban says Canadiens must ‘make his life a living hell’||11.13.14 at 11:52 am ET|
“They said the same thing about Henrik Lundqvist last year,” Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said. “He seemed to play pretty well.”
Indeed, Lundqvist did.
After not winning in Montreal since 2009 and being sat in games at the Bell Centre since 2012, the Rangers’ netminder went into Montreal and allowed three goals over the first two games (both Rangers wins) of the Eastern Conference finals last year. New York would go on to win the series in six games.
Rask has a career record of 3-11-3 against the Habs in the regular season overall, and is 3-6-0 against them in Montreal (4-7-0 including playoffs). He also lost two of his three starts against them at the Bell Centre last postseason, though his one win was a shutout. The goaltender also blanked them in Montreal in the 2009-10 season. He’s actually been worse against the Habs at the Garden than he’s been at the Bell Centre.
It isn’t like Rask has been a disaster against the Canadiens, but then again, not beating the Canadiens qualifies as a disaster for the Bruins.
“I wouldn’t look too much into it,” Subban said. “When he comes to this building, whenever we play Boston, it seems that we do a good job of getting traffic in front of him and not make it easy on him. It’s not an easy building to play in, but to say that he can’t have a good game here — I mean, I think he’s one of the best goalies in the league. He’s proven that and he’s played well against us at time.
“To be honest with you, when you see some of the goals that we’ve scored, we’ve done a good job of creating traffic. It’s not easy stopping second and third shots. We’ve had a couple of breakaways against him — that’s a 50-50 chance — so I think if we’re not prepared to get traffic in front of him tonight and make his life a living hell, then I don’t think we’re doing ourselves justice.”
|P.K. Subban: Canadiens ‘don’t care about the fireworks’||10.16.14 at 12:23 pm ET|
BROSSARD, Quebec — P.K. Subban had enough fun last postseason against the Bruins, but that’s probably because his team won.
So as he looks forward to the Canadiens’ home opener against the Bruins Thursday night, he says he isn’t thinking about how the scoreboard looks at the end of the game.
“I’m sure you guys want me to say that there’s going to be fireworks, and I don’t know. Our focus is winning the game,” Subban said after Thursday’s morning skate at Bell Sports Complex. “We don’t care about the fireworks, the dance, the crowd. No. We’ve got to focus on what we can control, and that’s how we play. The final result’s the most important thing.”
Subban had seven points (four goals, three assists) in Montreal’s second-round victory against Boston last postseason. Preseason aside, Thursday will mark the first time the teams play at Bell Centre since Montreal forced a Game 7 last May with a 4-0 win in Game 6.
Subban says the biggest factor Thursday will be the fact that the Habs are in front of their home crowd for the first time this season.
“I think you do get hyped up for it,” he said. “You get hyped up for a home opening game. Everybody does. That’s why they’re so tough to play on the road. So tough to play in home openers because home teams get so hyped up for them. We’ll be ready to go.”