BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins took a gamble that Malcolm Subban wouldn’t get claimed on waivers while trying to pass him through this week, and the Vegas house wins as it almost always does when gambling is involved. The Vegas Golden Knights claimed the Bruins former first round pick off the waiver wire on Monday at noontime, and will take on the 23-year-old goaltender that just appears to be coming into his own as a late bloomer of sorts.
Subban was 2-0-0 with a .889 save percentage during the preseason, and impressed the Bruins with his improved maturity and poise between the pipes after some well-chronicled struggles over the last few seasons. Some of it was due to a scary throat injury suffered a couple of years ago on an errant shot during warm-ups, and some of it was Subban’s train-wreck appearances for the NHL club where he was unceremoniously yanked from both of his starts.
It was clear the Bruins would go with a Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin tandem to start the season with little appetite for an unproven Subban as the main backup goalie, and that left Bruins GM Don Sweeney with some tough choices. He could carry three goalies on the NHL roster while shorting himself at either forward or defensemen, or he could try to slip Subban through waivers with most NHL teams set at goaltender this late in the preseason.
Vegas plucked Subban despite already holding Marc-Andre Fleury and Calvin Pickard on their NHL roster, so it’s unclear how he’s going to fit in with the Golden Knights in the immediate future. The Bruins were disappointed they lost a former first round pick for nothing on the waiver wire, but Subban held no trade value coming off his previously awful NHL appearances.
"I had my fingers crossed that it wasn't gonna happen,” said Sweeney, who also could have lost Subban for nothing when he left the goalie unprotected in the summer expansion draft as well "But that's part of the business, and we wish Malcolm obviously success in the opportunity that he's going to get. But it's a loss for us.
“Am I surprised? I think Malcolm has taken a step, and I’m not surprised in the situation. Vegas is doing what they’re trying to build. Obviously Zane [McIntyre] had experience last year and had a very good run. Daniel [Vladar] probably, if Malcolm does stay there, will get an opportunity to back up in
Providence and get the exposure there at the next level. It’s disappointing. We’ve had a lot of time invested in Malcolm, and we were seeing him grow as a person on and off the ice.”
Unfortunately for Subban, that growth came a little too late in his stint with the Bruins for him to contribute to the team that drafted him five years ago. It remains to be seen if Subban is ever going to become a late-blooming NHL-caliber goalie, or if he will go down as one of a number of awful, wasted first round picks during Peter Chiarelli’s tenure running the Bruins.