What’s best for Malcolm Subban’s future – the AHL or the NHL?

Matt Larkin
Malcolm Subban. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was the moment he’d awaited for years. Then it was a tortuously slow affair with no end in sight. Then it was over in the blink of an eye. Somehow, Malcolm Subban’s NHL debut was all three.

The Boston Bruins’ prized goaltending prospect earned his first start Feb. 20, 2015 against the powerhouse St. Louis Blues. Plenty of pundits speculated Subban would start the game prior, against the lowly Edmonton Oilers, for an easier test, not to mention a trade showcase for an opponent still seeking a long-term No. 1 at the time. Instead, Bruins coach Claude Julien threw Subban to the wolves. But, hey, it was a vote of confidence for a netminder chosen 24th overall in the 2012 draft and rated as the No. 3 prospect at his position in THN Future Watch. And Subban had more than earned a shot in the midst of a second straight stellar campaign with AHL Providence.

The dream came true but quickly became a nightmare. The Blues didn’t manage a shot for the first 13 minutes. They put three pucks on net in the first period. Then came a sudden second-period barrage, in which they peppered Subban and pumped home three goals in the first 5:09. Julien gave a shell-shocked Subban the hook.

“It was really exciting and thrilling, but it was tough,” Subban said. “If you ask any goalie, it’s tough when you’re not getting a lot of action and then all of a sudden you get a flurry of shots. I wish it went a little better, but I’ll be ready for my next opportunity.”

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Rumor Roundup: Blueline a concern for Bruins

Lyle Richardson
Cody Franson. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s been nearly a month since Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney expressed interest in adding a defenseman via free agency during an interview with the club’s website. Speculation over who Sweeney might sign is creating headlines in an otherwise quiet NHL rumor mill.

Since trading away Dougie Hamilton in June, Sweeney signed former San Jose Sharks blueliner Matt Irwin. However, the Bruins defense corps could use another skilled puck-moving rear guard, especially with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg getting long in the tooth.

Over the last several weeks, the Bruins were linked to defensemen Cody Franson, Christian Ehrhoff and Marek Zidlicky. Sweeney confirmed speaking with Franson and Zidlicky, but doesn’t appear close to signing either player. Ehrhoff received an offer from the Columbus Blue Jackets, but is reportedly speaking to other teams. The Bruins could be one of them. Read more

AHL Logo Ranking: No. 28 – Providence Bruins

Jared Clinton
Providence Bruins logo. (via Sportslogos.net/Chris Creamer)

(The AHL has undergone a season of change and one third of the league has changed locations or logos for the 2015-16 season. Leading up to the new season, The Hockey News will be ranking the logos of the league’s teams and offering a brief look at the history of each franchise. See the rest of the rankings in our AHL feed.)

The Providence Bruins were one win away from advancing to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs in 2014-15 but lost consecutive one-goal games to the Hartford Wolf Pack, ending up on the losing end of the first-round best-of-five series. In 2015-16, it might be harder for Providence to even get that far.

When the upcoming season begins, the baby Bruins could be without the likes of Seth Griffith and David Pastrnak, who were two of the club’s most prolific scorers during the past season. Both Griffith and Pastrnak have shots at making the big club in 2015-16 and without either, Providence’s offense will have to rely on Alex Khokhlachev. Justin Florek, who contributed 11 goals and 35 points, has moved on to the New York Islanders.

That’s not to mention that one starting netminder, either Jeremy Smith or Malcolm Subban, will be making the jump to the NHL to backup Tuukka Rask, with rookie netminder Zane McIntyre suiting up as a backup goaltender for Providence.

The club has been to the post-season in each of the past three seasons, but as the Bruins look to rebuild, some of the weight could come crashing down on the team in Providence. Read more

The five best goaltending prospects in the world

(Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Championships can be won and lost between the pipes, and every season it seems a new goaltender emerges to take a top job or push a longtime starter for the No. 1 role.

It has been more than a decade since the Pittsburgh Penguins made Marc-Andre Fleury the first overall pick, but that doesn’t mean late-round selections and goaltenders taken outside of the draft’s opening round haven’t developed into blue chip prospects and the goaltending futures for their respective clubs. In Vancouver, there might be a 1A and 1B developing before either actually ends up as an NHL starter.

There are several goaltenders who could be taking the reins for their clubs in the next several seasons. Here are the five best goaltending prospects in the world, as ranked by our 2015 Future Watch edition: Read more

The 10 oldest players suiting up in the NHL in 2015-16

Jaromir Jagr (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a move yesterday that flew a bit under the radar, signing center Matt Cullen to a one-year, $800,000 contract.

Cullen, who has played in more than 1,200 games over his career, has been a steady middle of the lineup player throughout his career. Cullen can give the Penguins some veteran depth, so it’s not a terrible signing, but what’s shocking about the deal is that Cullen is inching closer to his 39th birthday.

The Penguins also signed Eric Fehr this off-season, but Fehr, a veteran of 10 NHL seasons, is still 10 years Cullen’s junior. That’s no small age gap. Even still, Cullen barely cracks the five oldest players this season. Here are the NHL’s elder statesmen with contracts for the upcoming season: Read more

Five players who could have bounce back seasons in 2015-16

Kari Lehtonen (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

When Thomas Vanek hit the free agent market following the 2013-14 season, there was little doubt he was going to end up with the Minnesota Wild, but the club was hoping for a better campaign than what they got from the 31-year-old left winger.

Sure, Vanek turned in 21 goals and 52 points in 80 games with the Wild this past season, but at a $6.5 million salary, that wasn’t quite what Minnesota was looking for. The 52-point total was the second-lowest of Vanek’s career and his 21 goals were the fewest he had scored in a non-lockout year.

In the post-season, Vanek’s troubles continued, as he stumbled to four points — all assists — in 10 games. He didn’t score once for the Wild in the playoffs and, in a second-round series against Chicago that had three one-goal games, Minnesota desperately could have used Vanek finding the back of the net.

But there’s hope for next season. Vanek recently underwent surgery to repair two hernias in his left groin and he said he, “feels great,” and should be ready for training camp, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo. If he can bounce back, there’s hope that Vanek’s three-year, $19.5 million deal can start to look like a good one.

Vanek won’t be the only player looking to recover from a poor season, however. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Is the time right to trade Shea Weber?

Shea Weber (Getty Images)

While the Nashville Predators matched a 14-year, $110-million offer sheet for captain Shea Weber from the Philadelphia Flyers in July 2012, he’s remained the subject of annual off-season trade speculation.

Weber’s value to the Predators and the expense of his contract are usually cited as reasons why he won’t be dealt, but Yahoo Sports’ Josh Cooper believes the time could be right to trade him within the next year. Among the factors justifying this move includes the potential for a strong return, the expense of re-signing Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones next year and the possibility the 29-year-old defenseman’s performance could be about to decline.

Unlike most stars of Weber’s caliber, he lacks a no-trade clause in his contract. The Predators can entertain offers from around the league and ship him anywhere without his consent.
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The five least effective trade deadline deals of 2014-15

James Wisniewski (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

For the past week, the Toronto Blue Jays have owned the sports news cycle thanks to the club’s big time acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price ahead of the MLB trade deadline. There’s one problem, though: there’s a possibility that neither trade will actually help get the Blue Jays into the post-season.

The Blue Jays currently sit two games back of a wild-card spot, and, even then, they may find themselves ousted in the one-game playoff between the wild-card teams. If that happens, they will have made two major trades and, especially with regards to the Price trade, have mortgaged their future in a non-playoff year.

This isn’t a problem specific to baseball, however. Every year, teams wheel and deal at the NHL trade deadline with hopes of getting that final piece to put them over the top. This season was a rarity, in that the Chicago Blackhawks’ key addition, Antoine Vermette, actually performed admirably throughout the post-season and helped bring another Cup to the Windy City. In other cases, though, the deals went bust. Such is the case when there can only be one champion.

Here are five deadline deals from the past season that fell flat: Read more