Children...Children...Future...Future: Hawks Draft Prospects - Malcolm Subban
We move on now to another, and possibly the most, deficient position within the Hawks farm system, which is goaltending. Some would argue that the shortcomings stretch all the way to the big club, but that's a discussion for another day (possibly next week). For now, we'll focus our energies on one of the top goalie prospects of this year's draft, a young man with a familiar last name, Malcolm Subban.
Subban, as expected, is the younger brother of Habs defenseman P.K. Subban, and is four years his junior. In Malcolm's first year with the Belleville Bulls, he was selected to the the OHL's all rookie team, boasting a stat line of 10-17-2 with a .900 save percentage and a goals against of 3.14 in 32 games played. While those stats are downright Passmorian, keep in mind that a) he was a rookie, and b) scoring in junior is an entirely different animal. He improved on those this past year with a 2.50 GAA and a sparkling .923 save percentage, which was clearly enough to interject himself into the conversation as the goaltending prospect according to Central Scouting in this year's draft.
Stylistically, Subban is a traditional butterfly style goalie, which has worked well with the Hawks' uptempo system, as goalies who are unorthodox or wander too much tend to confuse the Hawks' defensemen, who in an ideal world are always wanting to skate the puck out of trouble from the defensive end. However, where Subban differs from a lot of traditional butterfly goalies is that he has the athleticism to make up for some of his mistakes on the rare occasions his technique fails him. Rebound control still appears to be an issue, but some seasoning and playing in leagues where defense is more of the emphasis can help ameliorate that. Comparables listed by those far more in the know than ourselves that have been tossed around include Carey Price and Marc-Andre Fleury, which is pretty decent pedigree (this playoff year notwithstanding for Flower). Based on the description, those seem fairly accurate, though Fleury seems to abandon technique more frequently, and Subban will have to pick a lane once the competition level ramps up.
The major issue with the Hawks' potential selection of Subban however, is their timetable. Even if the management (or anyone else) isn't fully convinced of Corey Crawford's ability to win one (let alone four) series in a post-season, Subban is hardly a short-term solution, as Chris Block wrote earlier today. Subban is at least three years away, and by that time the complexion of this team and its window for Cup aspirations could look very different. While his talent is certainly worthy of that spot in the draft and would address a gap in the Hawks system where no one is currently blowing anyone's skirt up, using a first round pick on him probably isn't in the cards, but the potential for a franchise netminder certainly is there.