Jordan Subban Named to AHL All-Star Classic Roster

Jeremy Davis
January 05 2017 02:52PM

The rosters for the American League All-Star Classic are out today, and the Comets have one player headed to Lehigh Valley to participate. Yes, every team needs to be included, just like in the NHL, but the Comets' contribution to the All-Star game is well deserving of the honour: Jordan Subban, second on the Comets in points, as a second-year defenceman no less.

This is the third consecutive year that the Comets will have a Canucks prospect representing them at the All-Star game, as Subban follows in the footsteps of Jacob Markstrom (who attended alongside teammates Cal O'Reilly and Bobby Sanguinetti in 2015) and Hunter Shinkaruk (the lone Comet in 2016). I think it's fair to say that Canucks fans are hoping that Subban continues following the path Markstrom has taken, rather than Shinkaruk, but nothing is guaranteed at this point.

Subban has been having a stellar year offensively, with his 20 points (in 29 games) ranking 10th among defencemen in the American League. The impressiveness of which is increased by the fact that the Comets are terrible offensively this season - Utica has scored just 74 goals this season, which is dead last in the AHL.

Additionally, Subban's eight goals rank fifth in the AHL, while his six power play goals are tied for first. His dominant offensive numbers are likely what gave him an edge of other potential options like Alex Grenier or Curtis Valk, who are putting up similar numbers, but are of course much farther done the rankings when compared to other forwards.

It's Subban's offensive numbers, combined with his young age, that give him such a high likelihood of projected success at the NHL level, with 71 percent of the players that fall into his statistical range (including his oft mentioned small stature) sticking in the NHL.

Jordan Subban Cohort

Of course, he's unlikely to get an opportunity in the NHL unless the Canucks and Comets coaching staff become satisfied with his play in his own zone.

Subban's offensive prowess also makes it easier to overlook his defensive lapses to an extent - certainly for the sake of a 3-on-3 hockey game with nothing on the line but bragging rights and the entertainment of fans. In the regular season, his penchant for egregious giveaways has regressed notably this season, though they still pop up from time to time. Perhaps the best thing that I can say about the improvement in Subban's defensive play at this point is that his giveaways seem to be occurring further from his own net than before, and thus leading to less direct goals against. That is progress.

Ironically, Subban hasn't had much success at 3-on-3 this season, but then again, few Comets have. Among the 11 defencemen that have suited up for the Comets this season, only Chad Billins has a point in 3-on-3 overtime (he has two in fact, both assists), meaning of course that Subban has zero.

Nevertheless, the game should provide some mild entertainment, and at least a chance to see Subban in an entirely offensive element, where fun is encouraged - Subban is definitely fun. As with the NHL last year (and this year), the AHL is constructing a division-based 3-on-3 tournament.

The four teams will participate in a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each, played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.

The All-Star Classic is set to take place on January 30th at 4:00pm Pacific.

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Father, husband, KPU grad. Prospect junky and fancy stat cruncher. I write about hockey on Canucks Army, and sporadically across other Nation Network sites, and formerly created and wrote at onecanuck.com. I'm on a Twitter hiatus, so agree or disagree with me in the comments. Contact: davis.jeremy89(at)gmail.com
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#1 ianjag99
January 05 2017, 03:15PM
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Hope the Canucks keep this guy. While he may not be a Boeser, Demko, or Juolevi, he is still a solid defensive prospect who may become a gifted offensive defenseman for us.

This is one of the few prospects in the Canucks organization who, while he may not end up being a top stud, could end up playing a key role on the Canucks in the future.

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#2 Bud Poile
January 05 2017, 03:51PM
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The Canucks desperately need an offensively gifted d-man to operate the PP.

If Jordan continues to strengthen his body and improves his defensive game he could add an offensive element to the d-corps that no other Canucks d-man has.Not Stetcher,not Hutton. Jordan plays like P.K on a caffeine rush.

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#3 wojohowitz
January 05 2017, 04:52PM
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I think you are being wildly optimistic about Subban`s future. In this case statistical analysis and probability of success is quite worthless. A defenseman who can`t play defense is a borderline prospect at best. Making the all-star game is just being the best of a bad bunch. How many games have the Comets lost in a row - nine?

For starters the Canucks have eight defencemen ahead of him on the depth chart. Forget about Larsen - he is a one and done.

Then consider the nightmare of a rash of injuries to the defence. How many Comet players would be called up ahead of him. Right now I count four who would be called up before Subban; Pedan, Nilsson, McEneny and Sautner.

Looking ahead to next season and the arrival of Neill, Brisbois and Olsen - any of which could pass him on the depth chart in training camp - would put Subban as number thirteen as a call up. He has no future with the Canucks.

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#4 van
January 05 2017, 06:14PM
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@wojohowitz

Our defensive depth is heavily skewed to the left side though. Hutton, Brisebois, Juolevi, Pedan etc. all lefties. Tryamkin's doing alright on the right, but he might be better on his natural side. Behind Tanev there's just Stecher. Subban is useful depth and the potential upside is more valuable than the likely paltry return from a trade. If you're going to trade, trade from the left. (This is all assuming Sbisa/Gudbranson should be traded regardless and Edler/Tanev are indispensable.)

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#5 sloth
January 05 2017, 08:08PM
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@wojohowitz

I think you're being overly pessimistic about Subban's future. Nobody is arguing that his current defensive ability and size are not an impediment to his chances of NHL success, but you can't deny that there is a market for elite offensive defencemen who can play with a more mature defensive-minded partner and contribute to positively to the team. I don't know if Subban has the chops to do that and I think it's something that will take a couple more years to shake out, but to discount the possibility completely is silly.

I think there's some truth to the old adage that D take longer to develop, and I think Benning also thinks that, so I think they'll be patient with him (I also worry that they will sign Gudbranson because of this as well).

I also think if there comes a time in the season when they are thinking about trading him, they may want to give him some games to see what he offers at the NHL level. I could see them trying to dangle him for another underproducing-older-prospect at the deadline (mmm, stale upside, Canucks' favourite) to pretend they are loading up for the playoffs.

But I'm hoping he turns into Christian Erhoff.

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#6 Bud Poile
January 05 2017, 10:12PM
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@wojohowitz

The Canucks only have one offensive d-man in the system ahead of Subban and that is Ollie,but Ollie is ahead of all the prospects.

I see Jordan as a sixth d-man that can man the second unit PP,much like they thought Larsen could fill that role.

Tryamkin with Subban,if it ever happened,would be the talk of the NHL.

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