Malcolm Subban placed on waivers as Khudobin retains backup job


Malcolm Subban placed on waivers as Khudobin retains backup job

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have made their decision on their backup goaltender and they’ve also opened the door for one of their former first-round picks to leave the organization. Malcolm Subban was placed on waivers on Monday after a solid training camp, but not close to solid enough to knock Anton Khudobin off his established pedestal as Tuukka Rask’s backup.

Khudobin, 31, clinched his spot with a 35-save effort in Boston’s 1-0 loss to the Blackhawks in their preseason finale on Saturday night, and the Bruins hope he’ll be the same goalie that was outstanding in the second half of last season.


“I think we’d been upfront about there being a competition for the backup spot, but I think [Khudobin] came in and looked good right away, and was well-conditioned and practiced well,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “He played well, so it’s his spot. He earned it.”

The writing was on the wall a bit for Subban, 23, after he was left unprotected in this summer’s expansion draft. The question now becomes if he’ll pass through waivers and report to Providence.

If Subban clears, then the Bruins hope he’ll be able to take the next step and dominate in the AHL after a fairly strong NHL camp. If he’s claimed by another NHL team then the door will be officially closed on another first-round pick bust from Peter Chiarelli’s tenure running the hockey operations in Boston. It will actually be interesting to see if any NHL team lacking goaltending depth takes a chance on claiming Subban before noon Tuesday, but it would be a bit surprising given his disastrous outings in the NHL regular season. (More below.)

“He’s carrying himself and he looks like he’s a more comfortable guy. It’s not confident because he’s always had a certain level of confidence, but he just looks more comfortable. Some of that I’d assume has to do with a good showing in Boston [during training camp],” said Cassidy. “[Subban] has stated publicly that he wants to play well for the Boston Bruins, and not for some other team. He wants to do it at this level. His camp was good and better than they’ve been in the past, and that’s why we’re talking about him.

“If he ends up in Providence then he needs to take that next step because there’s another guy down there that’s hungry to play in Zane [McIntyre]. He had a great year last year. The competition continues, but he looks better, more comfortable and more in control. It might just be maturity.”

Subban's 5.81 goals-against average and .727 save percentage in two NHL starts are among the worst in NHL history. Subban has been yanked in the second period from each of those games following pretty epic meltdowns. The hope is that he can build on the fairly average 2.41 GAA and .917 save percentage he posted last season in Providence, but he’ll need to do it while competing with McIntyre for playing time if he does clear waivers. 

Banged-up Bruins lose two more -- Rick Nash, McQuaid

Banged-up Bruins lose two more -- Rick Nash, McQuaid

BOSTON – It’s another day and another injured player, or two, for the Boston Bruins.

Veteran right winger Rick Nash was a late scratch for the Bruins on Monday night against the Blue Jackets after getting banged up in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had to exit due to injury in the third period of Monday night’s 5-4 overtime loss at TD Garden.  

“[Nash] got hit in Tampa, so we thought he was fine. He had an upper-body injury,” said Bruce Cassidy. “This morning, pregame skate, we thought he’d be fine, and it turned out after pregame skate, early afternoon, he wasn’t. So, you know, we had to make a call for Anton Blidh.”

The Nash absence forced the Bruins to recall Blidh from Providence on emergency recall and plug him into the lineup not using him in the last couple of road games in Florida, and it also pushed 21-year-old rookie Ryan Donato into a top-6 role alongside David Krejci in his NHL debut. Clearly things worked out for Donato with a 1-goal, 3-point performance in his first NHL game, and that along with some quality organizational depth is helping them withstand some of the injuries.

McQuaid was held to just 10:42 of ice time that was the fewest among all Bruins D-men on Monday night, but it was unclear exactly what befell him on the ice injury-wise.  

It is getting a little ridiculous for a Bruins team that’s missing Patrice Bergeron (fractured right foot), Zdeno Chara (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (sprained left MCL), David Backes (right leg laceration) and now may have to go without Nash (upper body) and McQuaid (undisclosed) as well. Clearly it’s something the Bruins will have to play through for the time being while simply hoping that it all conveniently clears up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“You know, you call a player up [from the AHL], right? We signed one out of college; that helped. So, that’s it. [The injuries] are uncontrollable to a certain extent. It’s kind of enough, now. I would agree. We’ve had our share, so let’s get these guys healthy and get ready to play,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know. You’ve got to play the game in front of you and you just hope the string of, kind of, tough luck, is over.

“That’s it. It’s a physical game. We’ve said all along, to have successful seasons, both regular and playoffs, you need a certain level of health. That’s what we’re hoping, that these guys come back, and that’s it. Until then, we plug the holes and play the game in front of you.”

Plugging those holes will continue to get more and more challenging if the Bruins keep losing players from their lineup on a nightly basis as they may have on Monday with both Nash and McQuaid now banged up as well.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

1:13 - Joe Haggerty joins from the TD Garden to discuss the non-call on Brad Marchand’s breakaway, Ryan Donato shining in his NHL debut, and when Patrice Bergeron could be returning.

6:16 - Gary Tanguay, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Kusnierek debate if the Patriots are starting to replace the talent they’ve lost this offseason as they have acquired Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Hill, and Jason McCourty. 

11:01 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Boston Sports Tonight to talk about the Celtics continuing to struggle as the injuries have piled up.