Malcolm Subban will get the nod in net for Team Canada in their World Junior Championship opener against Germany on December 26, according to TSN. The Boston Bruins prospect has won a hard-fought battle for the job against fellow Ontario Hockey League star Jordan Binnington.
Subban, who was selected 24th overall in the first round of the 2012 draft, has received the support of Canada head coach Steve Spott despite a number of poor performances leading up to the tournament.
Subban, the younger brother of Montreal Canadien P.K. Subban, struggled somewhat in pre-tournament exhibition losses against the University of Alberta and Team Finland. However, Subban's excellent season with the OHL's Belleville Bulls seemingly earned him the benefit of the doubt.
The 19-year-old goaltender has carried the Bulls to second place in the OHL's East Division despite receiving the least goal-scoring support in the league. He ranks second in the OHL in both goals-against average (2.17) and save percentage (.932), beating Binnington by a narrow margin in both categories.
The scorching-hot position battle has garnered mountains of attention in Canada, as the nation that invented the game seeks World Junior Gold for the first time since 2009.
Subban will now be tasked with making sure that a dream team of Canadian players made available by the NHL lockout takes care of business in Russia. A long list of stars including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Strome makes Team Canada heavy favorites and should ease the immense pressure heaped upon Subban.
The goaltender will be joined on Team Canada by two fellow Bruins prospects. Dougie Hamilton will anchor Canada's defense and has the ability to dominate games with his big-time point production and heavy hits, and bruiser Anthony Camara will feature as a third- or fourth-line winger capable of scoring in bunches and dishing out bruises.
The three Canadians will see two more future Boston teammates in Group B. Forward Alexander Khokhlachev returns for his second World Junior Tournament and should feature for a strong Russian team. Meanwhile, Team USA will benefit from the tremendous skating and playmaking skills of defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.
The tournament stocked with top prospects will own the hockey landscape from December 26 to January 5 with no NHL games on the horizon, and should be a great opportunity to watch a number of top Bruins prospects.
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