David Hutchison | Jan 22, 2019 | 0
Malcolm Subban heading for Vegas Golden Knights
An era of eternal optimism has ended in Boston.
The Bruins drafted Malcolm Subban in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft over five years ago, hoping he would be the goaltender of the future they were looking for once Tuukka Rask’s reign had ended.
Year after year seemed to pass without him ready to make the jump to the NHL. His first outing was one he likely wants to forget, and he posted just a .813 save percentage in all situations during his second-ever game at TD Garden.
With more promise for former North Dakota backstop Zane McIntyre at this point, the Bruins took a gamble and placed Subban on waivers Monday morning, likely hoping he’d go unnoticed in the last-minute dash to finalize a 23-man roster around the league.
That didn’t prove to be the case, though. The Vegas Golden Knights snagged him off the waiver wire Tuesday, bringing him into their system to form a three-goaltender tandem in Subban, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Calvin Pickard.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see, as Vegas will now have to rotate a three-goaltender system as long as they hope to keep both Subban and Pickard on their roster. Neither are waiver exempt, and they’d likely be headed out if Vegas tried to waive them down to the Chicago Wolves; Subban would almost certainly be picked back up by Boston (who would then have the option to automatically send him to AHL Providence), and Pickard seems like an easy option to head somewhere that needs additional depth.
All things considered, though, Vegas was a likely destination for Subban to begin with.
Ahead of the 2017 Expansion Draft this past June, InGoal took a look at players that the Golden Knights would likely want to select based on prior patterns from their coaches, GM, and scouting staff. Subban, with his quick reflexes and high-frequency movement style of play, seemed like a perfect fit:
“Subban may not be quite as attractive because he requires waivers, but the athletic 23-year-old Boston Bruins prospect does have a skill set Prior has prioritized in past drafts with the Capitals and is unlikely to get claimed on the way down to the AHL after being passed in the Bruins organization by Zane McIntyre this season. Several goalie observers have speculated he might be a good project for Vegas.”
It seems that Vegas may have passed him over for the very reason that he’d be a waiver claim, but then went ahead and claimed him themselves.
While this creates a bit of a crowded crease for Vegas, it’s a no-risk option for the team. Best case, Subban comes out of the gate hotter than Pickard – and with him already an attractive piece to their staff, he gets kept on board to become the new heir apparent to Fleury. Worst case, he continues to struggle as he has in the last few years, and they re-waive him, almost certainly sending him back to Boston to get more development time.