The face of the storied franchise along with All-Star netminder Carey Price, Subban is now under contract through the 2021-22 NHL season. The winner of the prestigious Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman in 2013, Subban notched 10 goals and 43 assists for 53 points in 82 games last season, good for fifth in points among defenders after finishing tied for the NHL lead with 11 goals and 27 helpers for 38 points in 42 games a season earlier during the lockout-shortened season.
After a rather slow start this season, scoring three goals and four assists for seven points in eleven October games, Subban has picked up his play as of late for the Eastern Conference leading Habs. With one game left in February, the 25-year-old Subban has already recorded one goal and 13 assists for 14 points in 13 games to go along with +7 differential.
The Toronto native played a season high 35:21 minutes on February 14th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is now ranked second in the NHL with 12 goals and 35 assists for 47 points with a +14 rating in 61 contests, trailing Flames defenseman Mark Giordano (who left last night's game with an injury) by a single point.
Among rearguards, Subban is second with four game-winning goals and third with six power play tallies and that despite shooting the puck far less often than last season (1.98 SPG as opposed to 2.49 SPG). As a result of injuries to veterans Alexei Emelin and Sergei Gonchar, his playing time has increased recently and on the season he is now playing 26:05 minutes on average (6th in the NHL), which is slightly more than his defensive partner Andrei Markov (25:04).
With Subban and Markov on the ice, the Canadiens are dominant and dictate the play on most nights as shown by last night's performance in Columbus when the duo combined for two goals and three assists with a +10 differential in a 5-2 win.
With a CF% of 53.9% and a FF% of 52.9%, Subban ranks second on a team, which is not known for its puck-possession ability with players like Manny Malhotra having a putrid CF% of 35.5... Starting a little over 50% of the plays in the offensive zone, Subban is used in every situation this season. Playing on average 3.33 minutes on the power play and exactly 2.00 on the penalty kill every game, Pernell Karl has turned into one of the most complete rearguards in the NHL. He is now a game-changer like Shea Weber and Drew Doughty
The electrifying puck-moving defenseman showed everyone he can also perform during the playoffs, potting 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points in 17 games last Spring. He now has 30 points (10 g, 20 a) in 43 contests during his young career, so he doesn't only produce during the regular season.
The colourful Subban also gives back to the local community by spending time with children and by being a role model off the ice for everyone.
Whether you like him or not, there is no denying that Subban is loaded with talent and pride, even though he was not even selected for the NHL All-Star game this season in Columbus, the league selecting "marquee" names such as Justin Faulk over him to have a representative of each team at the festivities.
The flashy smooth-skating rearguard enjoys the limelight and thrives under pressure, which makes him the perfect leader for a hockey-starving market such as Montreal. Not afraid to speak French in public even though he is still not fluent, Subban is as serious as it gets training-wise, which is why he is so strong with the puck and battles along the board.
His booming slap shot, his amazing stick-handling and his thunderous hits are only some of the skills that make him the complete player he is now... and he will only get better as he matures and stops taking the occasional stupid penalty.
Whether you like him or not, Subban is now a strong candidate for the Norris Trophy again this season.
Do you think the Subbanator will win the prized hardware in 2014-15?
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