(Above Photo Credit: NHL .com )
By Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
Last night the Providence Bruins beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by the score of 3-0 to increase their 2016-17 season record to 43-20-5-4 with four games remaining in the regular season. The Baby B’s are ranked second in the Atlantic Division and second in the Easter Conference trailing leading American Hockey League-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins by seven points. With a win, the top minor-pro affiliate of the Boston Bruins could get a little closer to the best team in the league as they both do battle at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center this afternoon with puck drop set for 3:05 pm.
Although the defense and offense had a big part of last night’s win with goals by Jake DeBrusk (17th), Matt Grzelcyk (6th), and Danton Heinen (14th), the story of the game was the effort put forth by goaltender Malcolm Subban. The third-year AHL pro stopped 34 of 34 Sound Tigers shots to bring his season record to 11-13-5 with a 2.36 Goals-Against-Average and .919 Save Percentage. The biggest accomplishment of the 2016-17 season for the 23-year-old Toronto, Ontario native was this win was his first shutout of the year and sixth in his pro career.
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Since his first round selection in the National Hockey Leagues Entry Draft in 2012 and when he turned pro in 2013-14 the Bruins had high expectations of a netminder that was ranked number one in the NHL’s Central Scouting Final Rankings and his last season in the Ontario Hockey League (2012-13) with the Belleville Bulls where he posted league bests in goals-against-average with a 2.14 and .934 save percentage. His transition from the Canadian Junior ranks to the minor-pro level has been less than stellar but has shown signs of brilliance. More or less his inconsistency has been hindering his pro career and might have a lot to do with starting in the crease at a later age.
In 126 career AHL games the 6′-2″ 200-pound netminder has a 56-44-14 record with a career 2.39 GAA, and .918 save% and with him slated to be a restricted free agent at the end of this season and 2017 Calder Cup Playoff run, it’s hard to tell what the Bruins organization is going to do with him moving forward. In two losing efforts when called up to the NHL Bruins, he’s failed to impress or gain any trade interest from other clubs posting a 5.82 GAA and .727 save% in those top level games. So what’s next for Subban and the Bruins?
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It’s hard to believe the Bruins will protect the third year pro for the upcoming expansion draft as they have starter Tuukka Rask locked up for the foreseeable future but many mock drafts have Subban being the one allowable player to be taken by the Vegas Golden Knights team as they build a franchise from the ground up and be ready for play for the 2017-18 season which starts this coming October. Another theory is get something for him at this years NHL Entry Draft held at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois with acquiring a late round selection either from this year or next years festivities which are yet to be determined.
In my personal opinion after watching every game of his AHL career is he does possess the skills to be a productive pro in any minor league system but might be better off getting a chance with another NHL club. Goaltender Zane McIntyre is also scheduled to be an RFA at the end of this season and the emergence of 2015 third round selection Dan Vladar seemingly have Subban being the odd man out and might walk to free agency after his rights with the Bruins organization are over.
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