P.K. Subban has impressed New Jersey Devils coach Lindy Ruff in the first six games of this season enough so that the defenseman is averaging nearly 25 minutes of ice time per game.
“I have really liked his game,” Ruff said on the NHL @TheRink podcast with co-hosts Dan Rosen and Shawn P. Roarke on Wednesday. “The minutes he’s played is because he’s played that well.”
Subban is averaging a team-high 24:56 of ice time per game in his first season under Ruff, up from 22:07 last season, his first with the Devils. He’s been limited to one point, an assist, but he has a team-high 16 shots on goal even though Ruff said he’s been struggling to get shots through.
“I’m not worried about the points at all,” Ruff said. “I think in order for us to be successful we’re going to have to be good defenders and P.K. has really stepped up and been predictable with his play. He has made the first pass that’s available. He’s made the easy plays. He hasn’t put himself in a situation that there’s a lot of risk in his game. I think if you want him to put more risk and you want him to get more involved, the defending part we will get hurt on. And I’ve looked to him to be a really good defender and I think he’s defended as well as anyone on the ice when it comes to our back end.”
Ruff also discussed the growth in center Jack Hughes‘ game, the emergence of rookie defenseman Ty Smith, and the steady play of center Travis Zajac, who is three games away from playing in his 1,000th NHL game, all for the Devils.
In addition, Rosen and Roarke talked to Ruff about the background behind goalie Corey Crawford’s sudden retirement from the NHL during training camp and what he learned about working with young players as an assistant with the New York Rangers the past three seasons.
The co-hosts also hit on a number of other topics, including their takes on the trade last week between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets involving forwards Patrik Laine (to Columbus) and Pierre-Luc Dubois (to Winnipeg), the Washington Capitals’ strong start, the race in the Scotia North Division and the struggling Rangers.
The podcast is free, and listeners can subscribe on all podcast platforms. It is also available on NHL.com/multimedia/podcasts and the NHL app.
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