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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

There’s not much that isn’t exciting about P.K. Subban.

From the way he carries the puck on the ice to the way he carries himself with a healthy confidence and large grin off of it, Subban is one of those people in life you just can’t miss.

From that standpoint, it’s easy to understand why Montreal Canadiens fans are optimistic the 21-year-old can immediately become a force on the team’s blueline.

After a two-game stint in the regular season last year, Subban joined the Habs late in the first round of the playoffs and stuck around for 14 games during Montreal’s run to the Eastern Conference final. When Andrei Markov was lost to a knee injury early in the second round, Subban’s responsibilities immediately grew and he enthusiastically embraced them. Some times they were met, other times, not so much.

Subban’s skills are not hard to spot. He’s a great skater who loves having the puck on his stick for the purpose of either dashing up ice with it himself or springing an open teammate with a pass. He’s always come across as a bold person, but his self-assuredness never seems to crossover into arrogance and, most of all, he is a young player who is eager to learn and get better.

And, just as anyone who’s seen him play can spot the potential, almost as blatant is the need for Subban to learn some of the finer points of hockey at the highest level.

His go-for-it attitude serves him well at times, but as a defenseman, he also plays a position that’s notoriously harder to perfect than forward. Nuance is often the name of the game on the back end; good decision-making is crucial to succeeding at that particular post and Subban still has much to learn on that front.

Ask any coach and they’ll tell you they’d always rather be trying to reel a player in rather than lighting a fire under them. Subban comes with embers already burning in his belly, but right now, his enthusiasm can be as much a detriment as an advantage.

Evening out that equation will be the goal in a rookie season for a young man who has a bright future with the Canadiens.

Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to His blog appears Wednesdays.

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