Oilers #9 Prospect December 2007: Devan Dubnyk

Current Rank: 9
Summer 2007 Rank: 7

Do you have any idea how stubborn I can get on a player? Ask me about Chris Hajt.

Devan Dubnyk’s pro career is going to come down to one word: consistency.

In his first 10 AHL games this season, Dubnyk’s SP (.902) is the best among first year goaltenders in the league. In games he’s played well in, his SP’s are .941, .946, .917, .938 and .955.

His poor games? .875, .889, .897, .806, .769.

Dubnyk is continuing a trend from junior that sees him give up a large number of powerplay goals (2 last night, 11 of his 30 goals against are PP goals).

His month by month SP’s are all over the place:

October: .921
November .877
December .912

Dubnyk has played about 33% of his team’s minutes so far this season, and has gone 6 or 7 days without playing plus he’s played in a mop-up role in blowouts a time or two as well. Speaking of 33%, in those minutes he’s allowed 11 of the 26 powerplay goals against for Springfield (42%) which is within the realm of “random” but we’ll add it to the list.

I don’t have a clue how teams develop goalies for the National Hockey League, but Dubnyk’s route would have to be described as “slow lane.” His .921SP in the ECHL last season would seem to be a nice number in any league where they play in earnest, but I always look to Asiaoil on these matters.

Asia has all kinds of well thought out theories on goalies, one of the most important in DD’s case being EV SP. The guy seems to have faced a large number of 5-0n-4 situations in his career and there’s evidence he’s being affected somewhat again this season.

In a post about Dubnyk not long ago, James Mirtle brought up a point in the comments section which said “Dubnyk was the best goaltender to wear a Blazers uniform in the decade or so I watched that team. He made an impact as a 16-year-old (and boy was he gangly back then) and never got enough credit for backstopping some pretty awful Kamloops teams into the playoffs. I think he’ll have an NHL career. You wonder if the adage about big defencemen holds true for netminders; it would certainly make sense that it takes longer for these guys to figure things out.

I think that’s about right. Rare is the goalie who comes to the NHL and has success right out of junior, and among big men it’s even harder to find. Ken Dryden was 23 when he was a phenom, his brother Dave didn’t arrive as a quality NHL goalie until 27, John Davidson came quickly but lost his career to injury. More recent examples would be welcome in the comments section.

Dubnyk’s age, size and flashes of brilliance (along with Asia’s ability to bring calm reason to an area of conversation that frankly baffles me) have me feeling pretty good about his future.

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13 Responses to "Oilers #9 Prospect December 2007: Devan Dubnyk"

  1. PunjabiOil says:

    I like DD, but like you mentioned, consistency is an issue. It was an issue in junior as well.

    According to BBO, he’s got poor lateral movement, which can explain goals against on the PP (i.e. cross ice passes).

    I like him over JDD though, who like DD, is also inconsistent.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Punjabioil: It seems as though he has these “spells” where he doesn’t play well for a period and it ruins his game.

    As for lateral movement, I’ve honestly always felt there’s only about 6 things the average fan can say about goalies (quick glove, quick feet, slow glove, slow feet, confident, aggressive) and when they’re on ALL goalies are these things and when they aren’t they aren’t.

    So, with respect to Bryan, I think he either “saw him good” or “saw him bad.”

    Scouting goalies must be painful business.

  3. Bruce says:

    Rare is the goalie who comes to the NHL and has success right out of junior, and among big men it’s even harder to find…More recent examples would be welcome in the comments section.

    A somewhat more recent big man who was successful immediately was Tom Barrasso (6’3, 210), who not only made the Sabres as an 18-year-old, but won the Calder and Vezina Trophies, and was selected to the First All-Star and All-Rookie teams in 1983-84. To prove it was no fluke, he also shared the Jennings trophy and made the Second All-Star team in his 19-year-old season. Of course he didn’t come right out of junior, he came right out of high school!

    Subsequent to that Barrasso’s career was more up and down, he never really became the dominant ‘tender he appeared to be as a youngster, but he did win 369 games and those two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh. Also owns the career points record for goalies.

    I never did like him much, he always struck me as an arrogant American prick, but giving credit where it’s due he meets the criteria of your question rather well.
    ***

    Another big man who had immediate success was Sean Burke (6’4, 210), who in 1987-88 played for Canada in the Olympics (with Andy Moog!), then turned pro and surprised the hockey world by leading the previously woeful Devils into the playoffs, and all the way to the conference finals. He was just 21 and looked to be the next big thing. Unfortunately for him, he spent almost all of his career on shitty teams — Jersey (pre-Lemaire), Hartford, Carolina, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Florida, Phoenix, Tampa, and LA — and after posting an astonishing 10-1 W-L record down that fabulous stretch run in 1988, didn’t post another winning season until 2000-01! But he did meet the criterion of a big ‘tender having early success.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Good job, Bruce. Thanks.

  5. Oilman says:

    Don’t forget Luongo….had a .904SP on a bad Islanders team as a 20 year old and has never posted anything lower since….cursed by playing for bad teams (including Vancouver). One of his amazing stats was (I think) his 100th win was also his 25th shutout…all while facing the most shots in the league year in year out.

  6. Tyler says:

    I never did like him much, he always struck me as an arrogant American prick, but giving credit where it’s due he meets the criteria of your question rather well.

    I wonder if you’d used any other national/ethnic descriptor whether your comment would have been so blithely received. This isn’t to pick on you Bruce – lots and lots of people do this – but it’s pretty fucking tiresome and, IMO, baseless. Barasso was, to the best of my recollection, an arrogant bastard. That said, if I was a hockey player dealing with the Howard Berger’s of the world on a daily basis, I can’t make any promises that I’d be Gandhi myself.

    As to LT’s post, it’s a funny thing about Dubnyk and the PP goals. Lots of big goalies seem to have problems with this. Roman Cechmanek was as dominant an ES goalie as there was but he kind of stunk on the PP. LaBarbera struggled on the PP early in his NHL career, although he has a fairly normal 50 point spread between his ES SV% and PP SV% this year.

    It’s a theory I’ve got nothing to back up but I’ve wondered if some of these guys are particularly well suited to ES play because of their size and because the chances at ES are far more likely to be of the straight on variety – the puck moves cross ice a lot more frequently on the PP, which if you’re bigger and slower, could make it more difficult for you.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Tyler: Gandhi wasn’t a good goalie.

  8. Bruce says:

    I wonder if you’d used any other national/ethnic descriptor whether your comment would have been so blithely received.

    Evidently it wasn’t blithely received. But it was blithely written, and for that I apologize. Didn’t put a whole lot of thought into that one.

    In the context of international hockey national (not ethnic) descriptors are a necessary part of the process, but in the context of “arrogant … prick” they are inappropriate. Those two words can stand on their own.

    I won’t apologize for hating Team USA — the 1986 Calgary Flames of international hockey — but I will choose my words more carefully when speaking of individuals.

  9. Black Dog says:

    LT – Everyone knows Gandhi played RW.

    Not very big, could get pushed off the puck fairly easily but gave as good as he got for the most part.

    Hard to find a comp, although many called him a poor man’s Aurel Joliat.

  10. Pat H says:

    Gandhi may not have been a goalie, but we all know Jesus was.

  11. uni says:

    Not very big, could get pushed off the puck fairly easily but gave as good as he got for the most part.

    You’re not quite right. He pretty much never retaliated. There were games where he just got his face pummeled in and never even took his glove off.

    Sure drew a lot of penalties though, and those 5 minute majors where his team went unopposed were killers. Certainly helped his team win.

  12. Bruce says:

    Gandhi = Matt Cooke?

    Say it ain’t so.

  13. Steve says:

    Gandhi may not have been a goalie, but we all know Jesus was.

    Jesus saves, hangs on for a faceoff.

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