Jordan Subban steps into draft spotlight

Updated: March 1, 2013, 5:15 PM ET
By Victoria Matiash

Escapability. While unrecognized by orthodox glossaries, the made-up noun is popular in today's contact-sport jargon. Like its more conventional stepsiblings (i.e., speed, strength, intelligence), the skill of being able to evade aggressive capture -- a football tackle or a hockey body-check -- is roundly admired. You can't crush what you can't catch. And defenseman Jordan Subban has "escapability" coming out the wazoo.

The trait is handy, since the Belleville Bulls defenseman isn't a big guy by anyone's measuring stick. Listed at only 5-foot-9, the youngest of three hockey-playing Subban brothers is considered the full package otherwise. Lauded for his vision, on-ice intelligence, stickhandling abilities and shot, Subban is already a standout at both ends of the ice for the OHL's Eastern Conference-leading Bulls. But as far as the club's general manager/head coach is concerned, it's the teen's ability to move his feet that makes him so special.

"Because he's not a monster [in terms of] physical size, if bigger guys are moving and he's standing still, he's going to take penalties or he's going to get beat," said George Burnett, comparing Subban to former OHL defenseman Ryan Ellis (Nashville Predators) and Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers. "But that's no different from any other young player. When his feet are moving, when he's getting in and out of traffic, in and out of trouble, into the corner and out of the corner before a big forechecker comes down on him, he shows his special skills that separate him from a lot of other players."

The top Bulls defenseman in scoring (by a country mile) with 48 points in 59 games, Jordan is equal to regular blue-line partner Jake Worrad with a team-leading plus-18. A recent tear of 17 points in 13 games, including his first OHL hat trick, has only drawn more attention to the soon-to-be 18-year-old. While comparisons to former Bulls D-man P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens, 2nd round, 2007) are inevitable, Burnett suggests a high compete level genuinely seems to run in the family. Like his older brother, Jordan can heavily influence the outcome of a game when at his best.