2012 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

Bruins’ Subban faces important developmental season


One could make an argument that just about any developmental year is a big one for a young prospect. Even so, that assessment seems appropriate for Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban’s 2014-15 season.

In 2013-14, the 2012 first-rounder battled for AHL starts with Niklas Svedberg. Svedberg now looks primed to replace Chad Johnson as Tuukka Rask’s backup, so Subban will likely be the go-to goalie for the Providence Bruins.

Subban, 20, described the mental adjustment he made as a backup/1B guy to NHL.com:

“It was challenging, to be honest,” Subban said. “When it’s something you’re not used to, like I’m used to playing a lot of games and being the go-to guy, so it was kind of tough being the secondary guy. But I just had to stay focused mentally. I think that was the hardest thing for me mentally, just to stay focused and to earn my way. And you know you don’t play as much, so you know when you get a chance to play you’ve got to play well, and that’s what I tried to do.”

A potentially challenging road ahead?

Let’s face it: Subban might want to get used to that feeling, even if it might not surface for a while.

As volatile as the goaltending position can be, Tuukka Rask just won his first Vezina Trophy and is only 27. His $7 million cap hit won’t expire until after the 2020-21 season.

The Bruins have to look at Subban as a backup for the medium-term future, at least in their ideal scenarios.

If Subban justifies that first-round selection, he would give the Bruins valuable flexibility. If he takes longer than they’d prefer, his future could be even more fluid.

It makes for an interesting situation overall and may take quite some time to resolve. Still, the talented netminder would do well to make a strong impression next season.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
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News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


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