To say that fans expected a lot from P.K. Subban at the start of the 2011-12
season would be a considerable understatement. After all, Subban had had a
terrific rookie campaign, and most felt that his skill level would shelter him
from the dreaded sophomore slump. Unfortunately, the delay of Andrei
Markov’s return forced the young defender into a more demanding role, and as a
result, his point totals weren’t quite where Canadiens’ fans had hoped they would be.
With Markov reportedly healthy and with another year under Subban’s belt, will
P.K. take the next step towards being an elite NHL defenceman?
Subban’s defensive responsibilities increased significantly when Markov
didn’t start the year with the team, and continued even upon his return.
Paired with Josh Gorges, P.K. faced off against the opposition’s top players,
played on special teams and logged an average 24:18 per game to lead the team.
Even though most admit disappointment in P.K.’s point totals, he only tallied 2
less points than the previous year, while his plus/minus increased by 17 points to +9,
4th best on the team.
Season Stats: 81 GP, 7 G, 29 A, 36 PTS, +9 rating, 119 PIM, 5
PPG, 1 SHP, 205 shots, 24:18 ATOI
Even with Markov bolstering the roster, Subban will likely play the most
minutes and be the unofficial #1 defenceman. It is expected that he and
Gorges will remain together and draw the difficult assignments, while P.K.
should still get plenty of time on the penalty-kill and powerplay. Whether
he sees time on the first or second wave of the powerplay remains to be seen;
both he and Markov favour the same position at the blue-line, and unless one is
open to compromise, they may not play together. In that event,Subban will
probably line up on his off-side with Tomas Kaberle and unleash his one-timer
It is unlikely that Subban’s point totals will change drastically this
season. In his two full years, he has been the model of consistency, and
even with a new coaching staff, Montreal’s system shouldn’t be too different
from years past. An improved powerplay will help (it’s got to get better,
right?) and his natural progression should yield a slight uptick in his point
totals. That being said, it is his peripheral stats that make Subban so
appealing from a fantasy perspective. In addition to points, P.K. racks up penalty minutes,
shots, and hits; if your fantasy league counts these categories, Subban becomes
that more valuable. Thanks to his (un)popularity, he is sure to be
simultaneously overvalued and undervalued by some in your league, but the smart
money should have him slotted as a 2nd or 3rd defenceman. If your league
does include the aforementioned peripheral categories, be sure to bump Subban up
a few spots on your pre-rankings.