|Malcolm Subban's play has him ranked No. 1 among North American goaltenders for the 2012 NHL Draft (Aaron Bell/OHL Images).
(Editor's note: This is one in a series of features about prospects who might possibly be available when the Ottawa Senators make the No. 15 selection of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, set for June 22-23 in Pittsburgh. Choices are based on rankings by several services, including NHL Central Scouting, but are not a reflection of Senators' internal scouting rankings).
For many a younger sibling, it's an almost natural rite of passage in a hockey-loving family.
You're the little brother, you expect to find yourself playing goal.
Malcolm Subban happily complied every chance he could get.
"When (we) were on the ice, in the backyard or in the hallway, I always volunteered to be the goalie," the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban told NHL.com. "I was a defenceman until I was 12 and I always wanted to play goalie. I love both positions. I wish I could play both, but I just had a passion for goalie watching all the Don Cherry tapes.
"My dad let me play (in net) when I was 12 and I've been happy ever since."
And rather good at it, too. The 18-year-old Subban, who minds the net for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, heads into the 2012 NHL Draft as the top-ranked North American goaltender in the eyes of NHL Central Scouting. It's a rating he held for his entire draft year.
"He is one of the most athletic goaltenders to come around in a long time," said Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting. "He's got quick reflexes, quick feet, quick pads. He also likes to be aggressive and confident. He plays very big in the net. He plays to his size."
At 6-1 and 188 pounds, Subban was one of three stoppers tabbed to take part in Hockey Canada's program of excellence goaltending camp in Calgary last weekend. That puts him squarely on the radar for selection to Canada's team for the 2013 world junior hockey championship in Russia.
But first he'll catch the attention of National Hockey League teams at the 2012 draft, slated for June 22-23 at the Consol Energy Center. And if the Ottawa Senators are in the market to boost their organizational goaltending depth, Subban might well be on the board when their turn comes with the 15th pick of the first round.
Whoever lands the middle brother of the Subban family — the youngest, Jordan, is a blueliner with the Bulls who is draft-eligible in 2013 — will be landing someone who's considered by many experts to be a franchise goaltender. He's been compared favourably to Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, a former Stanley Cup winner and No. 1 overall draft pick, and the Canadiens' Carey Price.
"I see Malcolm as Carey Price," said NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen, a former NHL goaltender himself. "He's calm and poised. I find Fleury to be more of an acrobatic goalie and getting out there, but Malcolm is very good with his positioning and outstanding lateral ability and quickness.
"He can make the big save to turn a game around, but he covers post-to-post so well with his butterfly. His leg extension is incredible and he has a very quick glove hand."
Soon enough, all of it might well make him known for being more than being P.K. Subban's kid brother.
"I would love him to be like Carey. That would be great," P.K. told NHL.com in speaking about his brother. "But I think the important thing for players is they're always going to compare you, and the thing I always like to say to a player is to be your own player ... He has to be the best Malcolm Subban he can possibly be.
"He'll develop his own style, his own game and he has to excel at it. I always tell people they will make their own path and he's doing that. He's a good goaltender and he's only been playing (the position) since he was 12. But you're not the No. 1 ranked goaltender because you're P.K.'s brother. You're the No. 1 ranked goaltender because you can play."