CanucksArmy Prospect Profiles: #7 Jordan Subban

CA7

Coming in at seventh in our consensus rankings is Jordan Subban. The 2013 fourth rounder made his professional hockey debut in the AHL this past season.

Subban had an illustrious OHL career where he registered 165 points in 253 games, including being a nearly point-per-game defender for the last three seasons he played in Belleville. He also brings a much-needed offensive punch to the Canucks’ prospect pool. He possesses great puck-moving and playmaking abilities combined with an excellent shot that he is not afraid to fire off. His offensive upside is massive, and something that is very valuable to the organization moving forward.

The biggest knock on the youngest of the Subban brothers has always been his size. At 5’9″, Subban is much shorter than the average NHLer. In a position that has traditionally favoured taller players, there was a concern of whether or not Subban could translate his game to the pro level. When he is on the ice, Subban will be battling against players significantly bigger than him which could cause some issues in the defensive end. A lot of those concerns were put to rest this past season after Subban was able to put up excellent numbers as a rookie in the AHL.

Subban appeared in 67 games with the Utica Comets, averaging just under an estimated 19 minutes of ice time per game. His 11 goals and 25 assists made him the highest scoring blueliner for the Comets, the 18th highest scoring AHL defensemen, and sixth highest scoring rookie blueliner. Being able to translate his offensive game immediately bodes well for Subban’s success moving forward. It should also be mentioned that 22 of Subban’s 36 points came at even strength. In an era where goals are harder to come by, players who can create offense (especially at even strength) are a highly valuable commodity.

Given his production, pGPS shines a favourable light on Subban. Four out of the nine statistical comparables for Subban went on to carve out successful NHL careers, including Ryan Ellis and Jared Spurgeon. Also, pGPS paints a picture on just how rare of a player Jordan Subban is. There are very few players who are his size that put up the same numbers. All but one player went on to get at least a taste of the NHL too, which is another positive for Subban.

There is reason to be slightly concerned about the defensive side of his game. When looking at even strength goals for and against, Subban was on the ice for 51 goals for and 52 goals against. While 52 goals are alarming at first, Subban was also on the ice for 51 goals for, which likely points to the fact that he is was a high-event player. Also, for a player in their first year of professional hockey, these totals are very respectable. Being able to trade goals evenly at even strength should favour Subban because he can make an impact on the powerplay given his skills and give his team an overall advantage there. As Subban grows and adapts to the AHL, his goals against totals should go down.

Former Canucks Army Managing Editor Rhys Jessop had a terrific piece on Jordan Subban last year, and many of the sentiments hold true to today. In being able to carry over his offensive success from the OHL to the AHL, it further supports the idea that Subban has the talent to be a player in the NHL but does not guarantee it. Also, while he is shorter than most, it will ultimately come down to him being talented enough to make it as an everyday NHLer.

Looking ahead the upcoming season, it is likely that Subban will be in Utica as a key figure on Utica’s blue line. It is less likely that Subban is called up over the course of the season due to him being further down the Canucks’ depth chart. Above him are Nikita Tryamkin and Andrey Pedan, the latter of whom will have difficulty cracking the Canucks’ line up this year. There is an outside chance that Subban gets a look in the NHL this year if there is an injury plague for the Canucks this year, but given the depth above him on the blue line, it is unlikely.

With an increased role in Utica, Subban should be able to work on improving his defensive game under head coach Travis Green. In a previous interview, Green mentioned that he was impressed with Subban’s offensive abilities as well as his improvements over the course of the season, but also that, due to his size, Subban will have to perfect some of his game to play in the NHL.

Overall, the Canucks have themselves an excellent prospect in Jordan Subban. There are a lot of factors that point towards Jordan Subban being able to become an NHL player at some point in his career. Should he continue to improve defensively while maintaining his offensive totals from last year, Subban could be finding himself in a Canucks jersey sooner rather than later.

Few PB’s after a long weekend ????

A video posted by subbs95 (@subbs95) on

  • TrueBlue

    I hope we give him every opportunity to join the big club when he’s ready, because his potential is absolutely huge. I think the natural evolution of speed and skill in the NHL will extend to include defensemen who can hunt down and move the puck as opposed to just pinning opposing players against the boards.

    I feel like there is a place for Subban in the NHL, just hope it’s with he Canucks. Holding my breath after the Shinkaruk trade though. If nothing else, let’s please maximize the return we get for him.

  • TrueBlue

    Listed at 5’9″ and 178 lbs, the obvious suggestion is move Subban to a forward position. He could still play the point on the power play.

    They attempted to do this with Pedan, but it would make far more sense here.

    • Bob Long

      Further to that, a forward with experience on defense can be quite valuable, as it allows an aggressive defenseman like Hutton to get adventuresome knowing his winger will fall back and cover his position well.

      Imagine, in other words, Subban and Hutton constantly flipping positions when the Canucks have the puck.

  • For Jordan to make a living playing in the NHL, he has to perfect his shot from the point. His shot has to get through to the net. If he becomes a powerplay specialist, he might make it. His point total from last year looks good. He’s also a right shot defenseman, which adds to his value.

    His size is an obvious issue. 5’9 – 183lbs. I think it was Travis Green who said Jordan needs to learn to be better without the puck. Meaning, to play defense. Clearing guys from the crease is a problem. Separating bigger players from the puck is also a challenge. Yannick Weber 5’11 and 200lbs struggled with this. (Yannick also had trouble getting the puck through. Sami Salo was the best at this.) The knock on his size has always been there, so he has to be paired with a Gudbranson type of player.

    Jordan is a puck mover. A point producer. Not a defender.

  • TrueBlue

    C’mon you whiners – – – where are the Corrado references…?
    Lets get it over with so we can read stuff that is actually interesting and important…

  • Bob Long

    A little off-topic note: Hudler signed with Dallas so we don’t have to worry about another smurf in the top 9 (I hope).

    Subban really seems to be in the twilight zone right now. We still don’t know what we actually have with this player though I’m certainly rooting for him. I like his game, love his attitude and would like to see him crest the ridge this season.

    How many more sleeps to the season? Summer is always welcome but…….HOCKEY!.

    • Bob Long

      I wasn’t that far off – i thought 2 years at 1.25 per year would land him.

      I think Benning is happy to hold a spot for a Kane trade anyway, and i do think Pedan would be a piece of the package going back to Buffalo so that would bump Subban up the depth chart.

  • Vanoxy

    I think his height isn’t as big an issue as it’s made out to be.

    The guy’s a bulldog, at 180+ lbs. Works out like crazy and is a lot stronger than a guy who is 6’3 and a lanky 195.

    I don’t think Subban will get pushed around out there.

    His main obstacle to taking the next step will be to be more responsible in his own end and learning to pick his spots better before jumping up in the rush.

    • Bob Long

      I don’t think he would get pushed around either. The problem with being 5’9″ is that reach is a particularly valuable commodity for defensemen. This is why they tend to prefer longer sticks than forwards, more than their height would suggest.

  • Bob Long

    The 5-9 178lbs doesn’t concern me – Tyson Barrie is 5 10 and supposedly 190 (maybe stepping out of the shower) so there is clearly room for smaller D men. I suspect Subban can and will put on more weight in the gym this summer anyway. Hamuis is listed at 6-1 209 and he didn’t intimidate anyone either even with the odd hip check.

    If Subban can be the more mobile, puck shooting partner to a guy like Tryamkin who can do the job of clearing the crease then that can work really well.

  • Dirty30

    Just read an article in the Globe about Gaudereau in Calgary. Same size as Subban, is a scoring wonder but the knock on him is his lack of defensive responsibility.

    In so many ways, Jordan Subban would be an awesome two-way forward. Considering the rumours that say Calgary will pay Gaudereau more than Monahan, Subban could potentially be a comparable player at a huge discount.

    Subban’s 36 points, speed, strength and smarts would make him a great third line shutdown player. He might trend higher, but that would be a great start for him.

    I don’t really understand a team where you ask a player to perform at 100% every night and he will peak at your 5-6 D-man at best, while you could take his natural attributes, skill, and smarts and potentially make him one of your top forwards.

    Can you imagine getting ten years of Jannick Hansen performance out of Subban? Or better?

    • Bob Long

      I agree let Suban play wing keep Pedan.The potential is there as a winger for Suban he will never be a top 4 defenceman.The sky is the limit to let him play as a forward.

    • Bob Long

      I agree let Suban play wing keep Pedan.The potential is there as a winger for Suban he will never be a top 4 defenceman.The sky is the limit to let him play as a forward.

  • Off topic: Jiri Hudler signs in Dallas. Can’t say I’m disappointed, although I thought he was coming to Van. No worries. I see Burrows on our 2nd line left wing. I also see him having a very good season.

    I have to wonder what the Dallas Stars are doing. They add Hudler, when they need help on defense and in goal. They traded and lost to free agency three top four defensemen, and only added Dan Hamhuis, who is now penciled in as top pairing Dman. Realy? I like Dan a lot but Dan is no longer #1. Perhaps Dallas has Dmen stashed in the minors, but come on.

  • pheenster

    subban has as good shot with the canucks as anywhere if gudbranson fits in. there will be two minute hogging shutdown dmen on the right side and that takes a lot of pressure off subban to play a regular defence shift. their lack of offence also leaves room for subban to grab oz starts and powerplay time for a lot of his minutes.

    but it all depends on him figuring out a way to get it done passably in his own zone , and to make the most of the ice time he will get.

  • wojohowitz

    There was a young stars tournament a couple of years ago where Subban worked the point on the power play and he was dominate so I hope management doesn`t make the mistake of not liking his game without the puck enough to keep him in Utica while the power play in Vancouver fizzles. A power play with two mobile puck handling play making defenceman could really turn their season into a success. A PP combo of Subban and maybe Larsen could make a big difference but will Willie go back to the tried and failed combo of Edler and Tanev. I have little faith in Willie changing up his dogmatic approach of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a better result.

  • wojohowitz

    My concern with Subban is the hits he will take in the corners and along the boards. Being 5-6 inches shorter than most Dmen will mean that many of the normal hits players take to the chest and shoulder area will be much higher. To me risk of injury should be the biggest concern.

    Remember the hits Tanev took in his first year especially.and he is 6 ft.

    • Subban is the same height and a kilogram lighter than Brad Marchand, being a defenseman he would be exposed to more hits. Just a comparison, any successful small players learn to keep their head up(or down). I was never keen on small D men but, his offensive skill and mobility impress me.

    • I think it is understood that Tanev is top D man in this league. At 6’2″ and 185 lbs, he is very effective. Subban on the other hand is shorter by 5″ but only 7 lbs lighter. He’s built like a brick s***house and your concern about injury is well founded, until he gets his head into the size and speed of the NHL. One more year in Utica will do him good, but i’d like to see him in Vancouver for a few games. Could be interesting.

  • pheenster

    If Tory Krug with Boston can play NHL hockey I think Jordan can as well. Krug is listed at 5’9″ 185 lbs as well. And he’s a great defender for Boston. And an amazing offensive presence on their blue line. If Jordan can follow that path that would be amazing!

  • Whackanuck

    “There are some people who really believe that Corrado was the next coming of Bobby Orr, and are a little sensitive about the topic”.

    I thought they were trolls at first but realized they are the ‘pocket protector’ crowd. Have all the answers but wouldn’t know which end of a hockey stick to hold….