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He’s slipped, but there remains hope for Malcolm Subban at #24

Plenty of fans would rather the team give up on him, but that’d be dumb.

Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Bruins Top 25 Under 25

#24: Malcolm Subban - G

Where did he come from? 2012 Draft - 1st round, 24th overall

Age: 23

Has he played in the NHL? Yes - 2 games

To be quite honest, I feel a little bit bad for Malcolm Subban.

He was in the spotlight from the moment he was drafted due to the Bruins’ rivalry with his star older brother. He was drafted into an organization that already had a solid number one goalie in Tuukka Rask.

He had some struggles in his first preseason appearances and got booed by the Garden fans, which wasn’t a good look.

He was thrown into the fire by the Bruins, making his NHL debut against the red-hot St. Louis Blues instead of the then-bad Edmonton Oilers, and getting pummeled and pulled for his troubles.

He suffered a fractured larynx in February of 2016 (yes, a FRACTURED LARYNX) and took a while to regain his form this past season.

He was given a chance to start again this past season, this time against a good Minnesota Wild team, and promptly got shelled (and booed) again.

All that, and he’s only 23 years old.

Part of me thinks Bruins fans have never really given Subban a fair shake. There are fans out there (I didn’t think they really existed until I talked to a few of them) who don’t like the fact that he’s PK’s brother and hold that against him.

There are others who (fairly) point to his NHL performances and say he’s never going to pan out.

However, it’s important to note that Subban is still young, and that goalies often take quite a while to develop.

Tuukka Rask, stuck behind Tim Thomas, wasn’t a regular NHL goalie until 2010, when he was around Subban’s age. Pekka Rinne, a Stanley Cup Finalist this year, didn’t start regularly until he was 26ish. Tim Thomas was in his 30s, Henrik Lundqvist was 24...this list goes on.

The point: few goalies are going to come into the pros and light the world up. So while Subban’s had his struggles, it’s way too soon to call him a bust and cut ties.

Subban had an OK season in Providence last year, with a 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage in 35 regular season games. He posted a 2.12 GAA and .937 save percentage in three playoff games as well.

What does the future look like for Subban?

We’re nearing “put up or shut up” time at this point. The Bruins are fine with Subban taking time to develop, as they’re set in goal with Rask for the next few years, regardless of what Michael Felger tells you.

However, the team (and the fans) are going to need to see progress. Subban will likely platoon with Zane McIntyre in Providence again this year (unless the Bruins part ways with Anton Khudobin and use one of the two as an NHL back-up).

The Bruins are basically waiting for one of those two guys to seize the “next man up” role and run with it. Thus far, McIntyre is in the lead.

What would do wonders for Subban would be a good showing in the preseason. It’d help boost his confidence, and could help quiet the fans for a little while.

It’s not quite “last call for Malcolm Subban” time yet. There’s still plenty of time for him to develop behind Rask, and plenty of time to prove he was worthy of that first-round pick.

The Bruins didn’t draft Subban to be their starting goalie in 2017; fans and the organization should remember that, and give the kid a chance to earn his keep.