Bostonbruins.com – Bostonians are all too familiar with Malcolm Subban’s brother, P.K. Subban of the rival Montreal Canadiens – who receives a chorus of boos at the TD Garden without fail whenever he carries the puck.
But the story of his bloodline, and hockey journey, goes deeper than that.
Malcolm is the middle child of three brothers who were all raised to be defensemen by their father, Karl Subban, who’s a huge Canadiens fan.
“I was a defenseman and my dad was my coach and he didn’t really want me to be a goalie so the year he stopped coaching me I kept asking him,” Subban said.
His father had other plans.
“I was supposed to go to like the Canadiens or something like that,” Subban recalled.
Finally, at age 12, his father let him convert to the position he was passionate about, letting him carve out a hockey identity that was uniquely his own.
In 2009, his older brother P.K. realized their father’s aspirations, making his debut as a defenseman in Montreal. That same year in the OHL Priority Draft, Subban waited until the 218th pick to hear his name called.
“To be honest I was pretty devastated,” Subban said of slipping so far in 2009.
For a while in Subban’s journey, starting between the pipes in the NHL was, well, a pipedream.
“To be honest, coming out of the OHL, I just would have been happy if they said I was on the draft list,” Subban said.
Since then the 18-year-old quickly rose to the top of NHL Central Scouting List for North American Goaltenders and was even invited to Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence camp.
Subban appeared in 39 games with Belleville this season, yielding a 2.50 GAA and .923 save percentage with three shutout victories.
“I’ve worked so hard to come from the OHL to get here and just to get a shot to get noticed so I just, you know, I couldn’t be happier right now,” the goaltender said.
Subban is also a strong candidate to be Canada’s backstop in the 2013 World Junior Championship.
Could he ever have imagined he’d develop into a first round selection in the NHL?
“It’s pretty surreal right now,” he said after taking the stage with damp eyes.
Considering what Chiarelli was looking for in the draft, the pick doesn’t seem that bizarre at all.
“You’d have to look at all the other attributes of the player but you know the size component I wanted,” Chiarelli mentioned in a conference call earlier this week.
Size is exactly what they got in Subban, who’s a bulwark in the crease at 6’1” - with a 79.5 inch wingspan and 30.5 inch vertical jump at the combine.
“Incredible leg thrust post to post,” Chiarelli said of Subban’s agility afterwards. “You saw him -he’s a big kid. His lateral speed is tremendous.”
If Subban realizes his ultimate goal in the coming years and cracks a starting role, he’d have the final say in whether his brother scores against the Bruins. Every single shot P.K. takes against his divisional foe would have additional meaning - symbolic to the rivalry and as banter material at Subban clan Christmas parties.
“A lot of gag gifts,” Subban joked.