PENTICTON, B.C. – Jordan Subban knows the questions and comparisons will follow him his entire career, and that’s OK.
But the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban is intent on charting his own path.
“It is what it is. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to run from that,” said the 20-year-old. “He’s a good player and my brother, but I’m just focused on myself and what I can do to get to the next level.
“It helps me more than it hurts me having a brother that plays in the NHL.”
Subban was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Entry draft by the Vancouver Canucks and like his Norris Trophy-winning sibling, thrives on pushing the play offensively. The slick defenceman recorded 25 goals and 27 assists in 63 games for the OHL’s Belleville Bulls last season to go along with three goals in four playoff outings.
One of the big differences between the brothers is size. At five foot nine and 178 pounds, Jordan is three inches shorter and more than 35 pounds lighter than P.K., so he often has to use his speed and smarts to get the better of opponents.
“For me the focus is having a good stick and quick feet and being in good position,” said the Toronto native. “That’s something I’ve worked on the last couple of years. I’ll continue to work on it until I stop playing hockey. For me to play at the next level there’s little things I have to work on.”
Critics also point to Subban’s defensive zone coverage, but Travis Green, who coaches the AHL’s Utica Comets and was behind the Canucks’ bench at the recent Young Stars rookie tournament, said that’s normal for most players at this stage of their careers.
“You can say that about every rookie defenceman that’s turning pro,” said Green. “I haven’t seen many where you say they don’t have to work on their defence.”
The third family member drafted into the NHL — middle brother Malcolm, a goalie, was selected in the first round in 2012 by the Boston Bruins — Jordan Subban is preparing for his third training camp with the Canucks, with Utica the likely destination this fall.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to make the transition to the pros this year, wherever it may be,” he said. “Stepping up to that level you have to be bigger, faster and stronger. I think I accomplished that over the summer.”
And with Vancouver continuing to retool its roster by sprinkling its veteran core with some younger players, Subban knows there’s an opportunity to show he’s on the right track to the NHL.
“I think everybody’s aware of that,” he said. “Everyone’s competing for a spot, everyone has something to prove.”