Scoring has not been easy for the Montreal Canadiens this season. The team is tied for 18th in the NHL in scoring so far in spite of having one of the more skilled forward groups in the league last year.
Any possible long droughts in scoring have been prevented by the efforts of one burly D-Man, P.K. Subban. With 33 points so far this year (seven goals, 26 assists), he is eight points ahead of the next leading scorer for the Habs (Max Pacioretty with 25 points).
Lately, Subban actually has been responsible for a lot of Pacioretty’s success, providing sweet feeds for him to finish. Subban has also been a staple for the PP ever since he started playing for Montreal.
An outspoken and energetic leader who is not very well liked around the league, Subban has proven all of his critics wrong with his performances. He is probably the most hated player on his team around the league, but he is also the most effective. Sometimes when fans cannot stand you it says a lot about the caliber of your play.
Subban has learned a lot this past year about being more defensively responsible as well. I think he is a more complete player than he was when he first broke into the league. His instincts are much better, and he is not beaten one-on-one the way that he used to be.
Subban’s past few games have seen some of the most timely pinching that one can find from any D-Man around the league. He simply knows how to feel out a situation on the ice and see when he should stay put and when he should join the rush. P.K. is always inclined to join the rush, but he no longer puts himself in situations where he is skating back to cover his position when another team counterattacks.
His 2010-11 season was the only team that he finished with a bad plus-minus rating (-8). Other than that first full season he has been very responsible with the puck and an integral part of the success of his hockey team. He proved his worth was more than equal to what he gets paid.
P.K. Subban is a leader who plays the next shift after a goal and tries to get that goal back for his team. He is a vocal player who is always trying to help out his teammates and communicate what he sees to other players. His mobility in the offensive zone is what often leads Montreal to be able to come back from deficits. This is the kind of effort which helps teams achieve success in the postseason.
I think Subban’s puck-moving skills often help the Habs identify the holes in the defense of their opponents. It seems to me that Subban’s saucer passes, drop passes, and even no-look passes always find a seam within the defense that was not accounted for.
If P.K continues to produce at this rate, I think that he would have to be considered for the Norris Trophy because he is a sound shutdown defender as well as the top point producer for his team.