TORONTO - "Hey, what's it like to be PK Subban's brother?" For Malcolm Subban, a first round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2012, you wouldn't blame him if he'd had just about enough of that question by now. But he doesn't seem to mind.
"I'm not sick of it but people are curious so they're going to ask questions," Malcolm Subban said after day three at BioSteel Camp in Toronto. "I've definitely heard it a few times."
But Malcolm is quick to play down its significance. It's not a big deal to him. He's just older brother PK.
"Honestly, it's whatever you want to make of it," Malcolm explained. "He's just my brother so it's not really different than having any other big brother to me."
Malcolm understands its part of having a famous older sibling. But unlike some siblings, Malcolm is in a position to make a name of his own in the same field as his brother.
Could the day soon be coming where PK gets asked, "What's it like to be Malcolm's brother?"
"Yeah hopefully that happens sometime," laughed Malcolm, "but right now, it's probably the other way around for a little bit but we'll see."
Coming off an excellent debut season in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins, posting a 15-10-5 record with a goals against average of 2.31 and a .920 save percentage in 33 games, Subban is hoping to make the jump to the NHL sooner than later.
"I feel like I'm getting a lot closer," he said. "I feel like I'm pretty close right now. I'm really confident with how my season went last year."
Niklas Svedberg figures to have the inside track on taking over the Boston Bruins' backup role behind Tuukka Rask which became empty after Chad Johnson departed as a free agent. Svedberg, too, was solid in the AHL last season in a starter's role with Providence and turned in an excellent effort in his lone NHL game to date, a 33-save performance in a Bruins 3-2 overtime win on January 2 against the Nashville Predators.
Malcolm admitted he understands what the depth chart says but still intends on making it a tough decision for the Bruins come training camp in September.
"I can only control what I can control and that's play well," Subban said. "If I don't play well, it makes the decision a lot easier."
If he does end up returning to Providence for his second professional season, it will be in the starter's role: the next step on the path to the NHL after a strong showing as the backup.
"Yeah obviously I'm pretty happy with how I did (last season)," Subban explained. "This year, it's a lot different being a back up to being in a starting role so that's what I'm looking forward to right now."
Subban has, so far, proven himself to be a goaltender capable of taking jumps to the next level with ease. In his three full seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Belleville Bulls, his numbers improved each year. He didn't miss a beat in his first professional season last year, something he credits to his work in summer skates with players who have already reached the NHL level.
"Going into the AHL, skating with pro guys during the summer helped a lot," Subban said. "The speed of the game in the AHL was a lot faster because guys aren't going 100 per cent in the summer but definitely getting familiar with the quality of releases (of shots) helped me a lot."
When he does make the jump to the NHL, whether it is this coming season in spot duty or a couple of years down the road, the chance to go head to head against his brother PK multiple times during the season with the Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens both in the Atlantic Division is something Malcolm has let himself dream about.
"It's pretty cool," said the Bruins prospect. "I've obviously thought about it since I got drafted by Boston. Hopefully we get to experience that sometime."
When that time comes, Malcolm figures he already has the edge on his brother.
"I know he's probably going to go high glove, I just have to keep that in mind," Subban laughed. "High glove or five hole, I don't see him going anywhere else."