Hockey Night in Canada NHL insider Elliotte Friedman joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Bruins recent struggles, the recall of goaltender Malcolm Subban, and if he could start as soon as Wednesday against Edmonton. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Subban, a second-year pro whom the B’s drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft, is coming off a stint in which he spent four games with the B’s as Tuukka Rask‘s backup while Niklas Svedberg was in Providence on a conditioning loan. Subban did not play during the stretch, but was officially recalled again Monday night.
It seems likely Subban will be in net Wednesday night when the Bruins take on the Oilers, as Edmonton has shown interest in the second-year goaltender.
“I don’t believe in coincidences, I don’t,” Friedman said. “When he gets called up and it is for this particular game, and you know [Claude] Julien, he doesn’t like to tell the media which goaltender is playing, this one is kind of odd. I have been told to expect him to play. I mean you never know until he actually shows up at the rink and skates out there as the starting goaltender, but there certainly is — and there was report last night that he was going to play and I believe that is true. Things can change, but I don’t believe in coincidences.
“We have been hearing all year that teams have been asking a bit about Malcolm Subban and I 100 percent believe that Buffalo, which is an organization that is really on goaltending, asked about him when they were talking about Chris Stewart and/or Drew Stafford, which was another player the Sabres kind of looked at and they were flat out rejected. Edmonton is another team that is going to be trying to change their goaltending mix this offseason.
“I think there is some degree of showcase here and I am sure Edmonton wants to see him against NHL shooters. I think it is very dangerous though to make a determination on a player based on one NHL start. There is no question that the Oilers want to see what they could be potentially trading for here.”
As for the Bruins’ struggles, Friedman sees a different team than Bruins’ teams from the past.
“They have turned over the roster a bit and I remember the first time I saw them this year in Toronto, I was like ‘Wow. These guys look young and a lot of them aren’t very big.’ They’ve played a certain style for a long time and it is getting harder for them to play that style,” he said. “That is why I think you have Peter Chiarelli kind of looking around seeing what is possible to do out there. They have cap issues, the whole league is going to have cap issues this summer, or at least most of the teams will. It is hard to make changes. I look at the Bruins as a bit of a team in transition and until they figure out to wade this way through and [until they] decide who are their core guys there might be a little more of this.”
Even with the way the Bruins have played lately, currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 64 points, with the exception of Montreal, Friedman believes no team wants to see the Bruins in the playoffs for a seven-game series.
“I can tell you this though, aside from Montreal who has their number, I don’t think anyone wants to see them in the playoffs,” said Friedman. “You get a seven-game series with [Tuukka] Rask and some of the top players they still have, you’re sitting there still saying, ‘This is going to be a battle.’ Although, Montreal just toys with them because of all their speed for whatever reason.”