MONTREAL - P.K. Subban
didn’t need to wait to blow out the candles to see his 20th
birthday wish become a reality on Wednesday afternoon. To mark the occasion, the Belleville Bulls’ defenseman closed out his teens by inking a three-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens.
Posting career offensive highs and finishing tied for second among all OHL rearguards, Subban notched 76 points in just 56 games this season. The power play specialist leaves the Bulls with 42 career goals and 190 career points, both franchise records for a blue-liner. The Toronto native’s dream season also included a second-consecutive appearance in the OHL All-Star Game, captaining the Eastern Conference squad to an 11-6 win over their Western counterparts.
After helping Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Ottawa in December, Subban continued his scoring frenzy with a nine-game point streak from January 16 to February 9, the longest in Bulls history. The 6-foot, 202-pounder posted an impressive four goal, 11 assist performance over that stretch.
While Subban can light the lamp with ease, it’s his ability to keep pucks out of his own net that helped lead Belleville to an Eastern Conference crown with 98 points in the regular season. The shifty blue-liner finished fifth in the OHL with a plus-47 differential in 2008-09.
Falling just two wins away from earning themselves a Memorial Cup tournament berth, Subban’s Bulls were ousted from the hunt by the Brampton Batallion in the third round of the playoffs this spring. Despite ending their run earlier than anticipated, Subban enjoyed a productive postseason, picking up 15 points and a plus-6 differential in 17 playoff games.
Subban has made it clear that he is looking to make the leap directly from the OHL to the NHL when the puck drops next season. Inspired by the exploits of Toronto’s Luke Schenn, Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty and Atlanta’s Zack Bogosian as examples of other young rearguards who skipped AHL seasoning in favor of jump-starting their career in the big leagues, Subban is gunning for a spot on the Habs’ opening day roster. With his eyes already on the prize, Subban is hitting the gym, hoping to earn his full-time ticket to Montreal next fall.
After impressing Canadiens’ brass at last year’s training camp and now signing his new contract, Subban just got one step closer to making his NHL dream a reality. Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
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