MONTREAL – It was clear since he first met the media at the NHL Draft in Columbus that P.K. Subban isn’t the type to ever be at a loss for words. That being said, the brash defenseman has every intention of letting his play do the talking.
The 43rd overall pick at this summer’s draft, Subban told all who would listen that day that he was ready to wear his new Canadiens jersey everyday for as long he could.
“I finally ended up taking it off after all,” shrugged Subban. “I figured I had to come back down to earth at some point and I thought it was best to do that sooner than later. But it wasn’t easy. I mean to talk to so many teams and then to end up being drafted by your favorite team, it was all pretty special. But what I need to do now is concentrate on doing what I’ve always dreamed of, playing in the NHL.”
Wearing his trademark smile wherever he goes, the fleet-footed anchor of the Belleville Bulls’ blue line was dubbed hockey’s answer to the Chris Rock for his performance in front of the microphones at the draft. Being a mere court jester is not in Subban’s plans, however.
“I never try to crack people up on purpose,” explained Subban, whose 56 points in 68 games in OHL last season were certainly no joke. “You won’t catch me with a Sharpie tucked in my skate or anything, believe me. My parents always taught me to speak from the heart. That way I’ll always be genuine. If I can make a few people smile along the way, great. It’s much easier to be confident when you believe in what you’re saying. And my confidence is my biggest asset.
“I’ve been compared to Jeremy Roenick before,” added Subban. “The only thing I see is two guys who are comfortable in front of a camera.”
The affable 18-year-old quickly became a fan favorite at the Canadiens’ recent development camp, which welcomed a group of roughly 20 Habs prospects for a week-long crash course in Habs 101. After each day of practice, Subban was kept busy signing dozens of autographs for his new fans.
“This whole thing was an amazing experience,” Subban said. “It’s a definite change from my life in junior. There might have been more people in the stands here for our practices than for one of our home games in Belleville!”
As Carey Price said after winning the Calder Cup with the Bulldogs, the value of these development camps must not be overlooked, with the goalie prospect crediting the bonds formed at camp with the cohesion he felt in the dressing room during the AHL playoffs. Subban couldn’t agree more with his possible future teammate.
“From Day 1, you could really feel there was chemistry in this group,” said Subban. “[Gregory Stewart] was my roommate and this wasn’t his first camp so he filled me in on what to expect so there wouldn’t be any surprises. I had a great time and I’ve got to say that Trevor Timmins and the Canadiens’ scouting staff has done a terrific job of drafting guys who all put the team first. There isn’t a single selfish player in this group.”
Armed with his talent and outgoing personality, Subban won’t be only one smiling when he one suits up for the Canadiens. Those in the Habs’ front office who made it all possible won’t be able to wipe the grins off their faces, either.