While Subban may be the higher touted goaltender of the two, being drafted in the first round by the Boston Bruins and playing in the summer series against Russia, he has looked shaky at best during his time battling during selection camp and in his first pre-competition game. Coming out of the selection camp Subban was arguably the worst goaltender but because of his strong play this summer and phenomenal stats with the Belleville Bulls he was given the benefit of the doubt. Binnington on the other hand was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft by the St. Louis Blues and wasn't even invited this summer to compete against Russia. He used his snub this summer as added motivation and earned an invite to selection camp based on his exceptional start of the season with the Owen Sound Attack.
Both netminders have similar records this season in the OHL; Subban going 15-7-3 with a save percentage of .932 while Binnington has gone 17-6-3 with a .930 Save percentage. After not having a clear cut number 1 goalie since 2005 (Carey Price) team Canada needs to pick the goalie who will give them the best shot at winning the gold medal not the "politically correct" goalie and based on pre-competition play that is Jordan Binnington.
Now I know there is still lots of time for Subban to find his game during the round robin games and will likely be given every opportunity to win back his starters job, but in a tournament this short you have to play the hot goalie. Subban has looked shaky and nervous during his turns between the pipes, something is just off he isn't the same goaltender who suits up for the Bulls and is lacking confidence. Giving the starting job to Subban while he's not playing well will prove both detrimental for Subban and team Canada. If Canada comes home with anything less than gold they will likely be met with criticism, something Subban may not react well to considering he's never played in a tournament of this magnitude before. Binnington has proven he's confident and ready to suit up for team Canada and his 30 save shootout win in which he looked composed and confident only further proved the point he is the real deal.
Right now Binnington is the hot goaltender, he has the confidence, the swagger and has flat out out-played Subban. He deserves, based on play, to be the starting netminder for team Canada. Heck he's even won over the support of the players;
"There was one flurry in the 2nd where he was unbelievable. He lost his stick and we were on the bench saying wow!" ~Team Canada forward Ryan Strome
Having the confidence from the team goes a long way, especially in a short tournament like this. Last year the players lost trust in Mark Visentin and became more focused on the back check then scoring goals. They quickly found themselves trailing Russia and ended up losing 6-5 forcing them out of the gold medal game, mainly because of weak goaltending. When a team is able to score 5 goals they should be winning the hockey game, but to see your netminder let in 6 is a real tough pill to swallow. It is crucial this year that the Canadian players have faith in their goaltender, based on pre-competition games they don't seem to be a high scoring team so they will rely even more on the goalie to keep the games close until they can capitalize.
With teenage athletes, especially goalies, poor play is often magnified with pressure. Both goalies are still young and have some maturing to do but the pressure of being the number one goaltender for team Canada is no easy burden. Right now all the pressure is on Subban, he was expected to be the starter, played against Russia in the summer and was a first round pick. Where as Binnington came out of no where, out-played Subban and has been flying under the radar this season. There's less pressure on Binnington, he wasn't the rumoured starter and had to work hard just to make the team after the snub in the summer. If he's named the starter people will be impressed by his performance no matter how things turn out as they weren't expecting him to lead the team.
While fans may get to see a little bit of both goaltenders throughout the round robin games, the brunt of the load should be given to Binnington. He's proven he's ready with his strong play and right now is more stable than Subban. Right now the best bet for Canada to win gold is if Binnington is the starter, but I've seen Spott make worse decisions. Whoever he decides to name starter, he should announce it soon. Subban is already doubting his play and if given the starting job will have a hard time getting the naysayers out of his head. We saw last year how well not declaring a starter went for team Canada, they don't want to head down that path again.