With the Vancouver Canucks entering a rebuilding year under new head coach Travis Green, plenty of young players will be given opportunities in 2017-18, and that should include defenceman Jordan Subban.
Though the Vancouver Canucks are far from finished the rebuilding project, general manager Jim Benning has done a wonderful job stockpiling this team with young roster players and elite prospects.
As such, the Canucks hope to have one of the league’s top defensive units by 2019-2020. That will include Chris Tanev, Olli Juolevi, Ben Hutton and Troy Stecher. If things go accordingly, it could involve prospect Jordan Subban — the younger brother of Nashville Predators star P.K..
Jordan was drafted by the Canucks with the 115th pick back in 2013 — one of the final draft selections Mike Gillis would make before getting fired less than a year later. And though has yet to play an NHL game thus far, Subban may finally play some games as a pro in 2017-18.
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The 5-foot-9, 178-pound native of Rexdale, Ont. has shown his offensive flashes in the AHL, scoring 16 goals and 36 points in 65 games for the Utica Comets last season. With Green now head coach of the Canucks, he’ll be the first person to tell you about Subban’s talents.
Unfortunately for Subban, becoming a Canucks regular in 2017-18 is unlikely. Vancouver already has six proven defencemen in Tanev, Hutton, Stecher, Alexander Edler, Erik Gudbranson and newcomer Michael Del Zotto.
But should any of them be lost to injury? Or if Edler and/or Tanev get traded, being two of the Canucks top trade chips and all? Then it’s time for Subban to receive the call up.
Ready for the big leagues
Subban has displayed enough potential in his game to deserve a call-up from the Canucks. You have to give credit to the team for not rushing their prospects, but Subban doesn’t have much more to prove in the minors.
According to Luke Fox from Sportsnet, Subban is extremely motivated to finally crack the NHL:
"My goal is going into camp and making the team. That’s my only goal now. That’s my main focus,” Subban says…Get my foot in the door, then knock down the door. Nothing changes. I’m in the same mindset I’ve always been in…I’m here to compete for a spot…The only thing that’ll help me is going in and playing well at camp. It doesn’t matter who the coach is. If you play well, you’ll be there."
That’s the sort of attitude you want to have from a young player like Subban. He clearly has no problem about the organization being patient with him. Now it’s time for the Canucks to reward Subban and let him play.
As the 2016-16 Toronto Maple Leafs were happy to show, a rebuilding year means just calling up your kids and giving them some NHL action. A year later, the Maple Leafs were in the playoffs — thanks to having their youth learn what the pros were like.
Subban may be ready
This is the younger brother of one of the NHL’s elite defencemen. For all we know, Subban could receive a call up and shine right away. That’s what happened to P.K. with the Montreal Canadiens in 2010. The result? Subban scored eight points as the Habs reached the Eastern Conference Final.
Not saying that the Canucks will call up Subban, make the playoffs and get to the final four. But you get my point — Subban just might shine the instant he finally makes his NHL debut.
Edler has just two years left on his contract at $5 million a season. The 31-year-old could find himself traded before he’s set for free agency in 2019. Del Zotto is only under contract for two seasons. Gudbranson will earn $3.5 million next season before hitting free agency. So the Canucks will eventually have some holes to fill up over the next couple of years.
So why not give Subban his shot in 2017-18? It’s a rebuilding year, and the franchise has nothing to lose next season. See what Jordan Subban can do, and make him a part of the Vancouver Canucks roster for at least five games next season. It worked out well for Brock Boeser, and it could for Subban as well.
*Stats courtesy of Hockey DB*