Canadiens 2013 Draft Targets: Jordan Subban

Richard Wolowicz

Over the next three weeks, I will be breaking down some of the players I believe the Habs should and/or could target with one of their eight picks. Information is taken from various scouting reports, rankings, and videos.

For the second consecutive year, a lot of hype will surround a Subban brother at the NHL Draft. Jordan, the youngest of the three hockey-playing sons, is a defenseman like Canadiens blue-liner PK Subban, who was drafted 43rd overall in 2007. PK won the NHL's Norris Trophy on Saturday. So how does Jordan compare to his elder brother?

P.K. Name Jordan
Defense Position Defense
OHL Junior League OHL
Belleville Junior Team Belleville
Right Shoots Right
2007 Draft Year 2013
6'0" DY Height 5'9"
200 lbs DY Weight 175 lbs
15 DY Goals 15
41 DY Assists 36
56 DY Points 51
+13 DY +/- +22
89 DY PIM 47
102 Central Scouting NA Rank 55

As can be seen, the two had very similar numbers in their draft years, although it must be noted that PK played on a high-flying team that scored 260 goals while Jordan's Bulls notched only 228 tallies. Jordan's team was, however, a better overall team that allowed significantly less goals.

But on to the scouting report. Jordan Subban is a very much undersized offensive defenseman with tremendous skill that manifests itself in many forms. He has a great wrist shot and a solid slap shot, has good vision and is able to thread passes, and is a very good puck mover and stickhandler. He is a smart player, which is something he will have to capitalize on if he is to have success at the next level. His obvious deficiencies come in the defensive zone, where due to his size he can have trouble with taking the man, boxing guys out in front of the net, and other things smaller guys tend to have problems with. He sometimes makes questionable decisions in the defensive zone, although as a student of the game that is something I would expect him to improve on as he continues to grow as a hockey player.

In terms of the size, it's interesting to look at some of the smallest defensemen in the NHL.

Screen_shot_2013-06-16_at_5

At the bottom of the list, you have a guy like Francis Bouillon, who has managed to be a successful NHL defenseman despite significantly less talent than Jordan, and then you have promising to established guys like Torey Krug, Ryan Ellis, Tobias Enstrom, and Brian Campbell. While Subban is currently smaller than any of these guys, that doesn't mean he won't bulk up to an extent and be at around 185 lbs by the time he makes the NHL. That would make him a similar build to an Enstrom.

Take a look first at what one site had to say about P.K. prior to his being drafted:

Strengths: Subban is a phenomenal puckmover, rusher, and shooting threat from the backend with undeniable hands and skating ability. He is a confident player with the puck on his stick and is able to make highly skilled plays. He can be unstoppable at times on the powerplay with a heavy wrister and slap shot. Stunningly, as well as Subban can shoot the puck, he can dish it just as well with quick thinking, surveillance, and ability to hit open teammates most point men cannot. We do see signs of a physical edge as Subban is willing to aid teammates in need and engage opponents.

Weaknesses: Although his name is PK, ironically one of his alleged areas needing improvement is his defensive acumen. DraftBuzz thinks concerns over this part of his game, while not terrifically strong, are overblown and not enough to drag down his value as a prospect. We see a marginal difference between PK Subban and player like Bobby Sanguinetti - a 21st overall draft selection in 2006 who also had plenty of offensive gifts but shortcomings defensively. He can become too risky at times leaving his own zone and navigating the neutral zone, relying on his skill rather than choosing safe plays.

That is courtesy of NHL Draft Buzz. It's interesting to see the similarities between Jordan's game and his brother's. In the end, Jordan will never be the physical specimen that PK is, but that's not his game. At worst, he would likely end up as a powerplay specialist akin to Marc-Andre Bergeron, but I think that there's a solid chance he can become more than that.

Read what PK had to say about his brother:

"Jordan plays more of a cerebral type of game and is more of a thinker and I play off my instincts and try to do a little bit of everything," P.K. Subban said. "I think Jordan's skill level is much higher than mine. I'm on the ice with him every day during the summer doing skill stuff, and he's the one demonstrating the drill."

"He kind of wants to do more than what I've achieved, so he's a special individual and a lot different than I am," Subban said. "He will be an amazing player, and I think that a lot of people might look past him, but they're going to be surprised in the near future how good he is because I really do think he has a lot more potential than both myself and Malcolm.

The interesting part here to me is the first sentence. P.K. is more of an instinctive player, and his size likely allows him to get away with that. Jordan thinks the game at a higher level, he watches tape of his brother in the NHL and constantly studies film - not that P.K. doesn't do film work, we know that he does. There's clearly exciting potential here with the youngest brother, but it's hard to predict whether he'll become the next Jordan Staal or...well...Jared Staal, in terms of siblings.

"Put it this way: There are seven people in our family, and if there are six slices of pizza on the table, Jordan's getting one. He's that type of kid, and he has that type character."

....what? I don't know. Moving on.

Scouting:

Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus:

You may have heard this name before. Jordan Subban, like his brother P.K., is a right-handed Belleville Bulls defenseman who enters the draft with offensive gifts and defensive question marks. P.K. was selected 43rd overall in 2007, similar to this range for Jordan. Subban is a top-end skater who has the ability to jet up and down the ice as a dangerous puck rusher. He has plus offensive skill, as he can weave through traffic and make quality setups. He can be a little risky with his offensive attacks, however, as well as make poor positional errors on defense. He is a small defenseman at about 5'9", and that brings a solid amount of risk to his projection. His value in his own end is questionable, although he will work hard in one-on-one battles. He can make plays as a stick checker, but as a prospect, he has a high amount of uncertainty based on his defensive projection.

Highlights:


Apparently now we're talking about bread, not pizza? Like father, like son.


Note that these are highlights from prior to this year.


An impressive hattrick from earlier this year.

Rankings:

ISS: Not in top 30

Craig Button Rank: 41

FC Rank: 54

McKeen's Rank: 60

Pronman Rank: 54

Hockey News Rank: 67

Average Rank: 55

Personal Rank: 33

If I'm the general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, with a bevy of picks and a deep enough system to afford to take risks, Jordan Subban would be a guy that I would love to get with the 55th overall pick. It's possible he could last into the third round, but I wouldn't count on it. If nobody else of great interest fell to 36th, I might even consider picking him there. Subban has the opportunity, if developed correctly, to become a dominant offensive specialist. He's worth the risk.

Past Reads:

An Intro to the Canadiens and the 2013 Draft

Target #1: Josh Morrissey

Target #2: Anthony Mantha

Target #3: Samuel Morin

Target #4: Valentin Zykov

Target #5: Emile Poirier


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