With the Canucks eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the lockers cleaned out, it’s time to look to the future. One player that I believe should be part of that future is still unsigned Canucks prospect Jordan Subban.
Drafted 115th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Subban is a dynamic offensive defenceman who can also handle himself well in the defensive zone.
Subban had 25 goals and 27 assists this season, leading the Belleville Bulls in scoring. He tied with Tampa Bay first round pick Anthony DeAngelo for most goals by a defenceman in the entire Canadian Hockey League (OHL, WHL and QMJHL) and finished 8th in points by a defenceman in the OHL.
However the main issue is that he is 5’9″, which is probably why Canucks management haven’t already signed Subban to an entry-level deal.
The Canucks have until June 1st to sign Subban, otherwise they will lose his rights and he will re-enter into the 2015 draft.
GM Jim Benning was asked specifically about Subban at the end-of-year press conference on Wednesday:
GM Jim Benning says team plans to re-sign D Yannick Weber and sign D Jordan Subban. Also Ronalds Kenins (knee) out 4-6 weeks. #canucks
— Elliott Pap (@ElliottPap) April 29, 2015
It’s good to see that they intend to sign Subban, but you have to wonder why it hasn’t happened already.
The concern about Subban is clearly his size, which is a valid concern. He might not be able to overcome his size disadvantage in the pro ranks as he did in junior. However when he played for the Canucks in the Young Stars tournament and preseason, he never looked over-matched and wasn’t getting out-muscled.
Subban has the hockey sense to know that he is smaller and adjusts accordingly. He uses his skating skills and quick stick to his advantage rather then engaging physically. I thought he looked fantastic during his only preseason game, scoring this beauty:
Jordan also earned rave reviews from his brother P.K. last year:
“Jordan’s going to be the best of all of us”
I wouldn’t take P.K. Subban’s comments as gospel, as he is likely just supporting his brother. But you also can’t ignore those comments because when a Norris Trophy winner says that someone is better then him, that might mean something. In fact, Jordan’s stats in his draft year (51 points in 68 games) were comparable to his big brother (56 points in 68 games).
I don’t think Jordan will ever be anywhere near as good as P.K., but I think the Canucks have to get Jordan signed to an entry-level contract. The Canucks have noticeably been trying to get bigger and stronger, but they lack offence from their defencemen as well as a power play quarterback.
With all that being said, Subban is worth the minimal investment of an entry-level contract. The concerns about his size are legitimate, but the 20-year-old is worth the risk now when the Canucks don’t fully know what they have.