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The Sports Daily > Days of Y'Orr
Malcolm Subban and the Myth of Asset Management

Yesterday the Vegas Golden Knights officially claimed Malcolm Subban on waivers from the Boston Bruins and some people lost their fucking minds. If you search on Twitter, Reddit or various Facebook groups, you’ll see people talk about poor asset management on the Bruins behalf.

The theory behind this is that the Bruins could have traded Malcolm Subban instead of putting him on waivers for anyone to claim. It is believed in these circles, that Malcolm Subban had actual value to NHL teams and they be willing to give up a draft pick to get him. It’s not so much about where the pick is, but more so that you didn’t lose something for nothing.

It’s a tale as old as time. It’s believed that every prospect has value and that losing value for nothing is the nimrod way of managing. Should Boston have received a seventh round pick, fans may not even be talking about “asset management” because guys like Joe Pavelski and Henrik Zetterberg were seventh round selections. No matter what you receive, it’s always better than nothing…right?

Wrong.

Perceived value and actual value are two different things. Everyone perceived that Malcolm Subban had value because he was a first round draft pick and possibly because the last name meant something. A couple decent-to-good AHL years could help compound that and lead one to believe that someone in the NHL valued him more than a draft pick.

However:

Malcolm Subban wasn’t valued by NHL clubs. Things are perceived differently when something is free, but when you have to give up something for them – they’re not worth it. That’s what we’re looking at with Malcolm Subban.

His NHL line: 2 games played, 5.81 GAA, 0.727 SV%.

Would you trade anything for that? The answer, if you’re not kidding yourself, is no.

The other caveat to this is that if you send Subban to the AHL he needs to pass through waivers again. Bree, being the smart one in the group who asks questions when she doesn’t know the answer to something unlike the rest of us asked about Subban going through waivers again and Catherine Silverman gave her this answer.

So not only would an NHL team have to trade an actual asset for Malcolm Subban, but they would have to keep him on their NHL roster for fear of losing him back to the team that put him on waivers in the first place. I know, in my heart-of-hearts, that Boston would claim Malcolm Subban again.

NHL GMs know that Boston had two options:

  • Keep Subban rostered
  • Put Subban on waivers

Knowing this, why would you give up something for him? With Rask and Khudobin already cementing their spots, Subban was the odd man out.

Just because you perceive a player to have value doesn’t make it true. There was no trade market for Malcolm Subban right now and the Bruins did what they believed was the right thing. Do I agree with it? No and I talk about it on “The Optional Skate” (releasing Friday for Patreon) so I won’t go in-depth on it here.

Boston has had awful asset management in the past, but this isn’t one of those cases.