Current Rank: #12
Summer 2009: #12
Devan Dubnyk’s goaltending career– more than pretty much anyone since Gilles Meloche–has been spent in the service of subpar teams. In junior, his Kamloops Blazers were a middling team who seemed to be shorthanded nightly. In the AHL, Dubnyk’s Falcons have been flat out bad since he arrived.
The question with regard to DD is he the victim or the cause? It’s rather hard to come up with a definitive answer but there are some things we can know just using math. As bad as the blue was in 08-09, each of Springfield’s goalies had the same job every gamenight–stop the puck. Here are the save percentages (by season) for Dubnyk and the other Falcons goalies, split right down the middle.
- 09-10: Dubnyk (.924), Others (.885)
- 08-09: Dubnyk (.906), Others (.904)
- 07-08: Dubnyk (.904), Others (.911)
2007-09 the “others” was mostly JDD with some help from Dany Sabourin. Both had more experience than Dubnyk and certainly outperformed him in his first AHL season, but by year two he was about even. This year the Falcons have Sorochan and Perugini playing goal and although Perugini looks good early Sorochan has struggled this year.
Saying Dubnyk is clear of the other Springfield goalies isn’t saying much, so how does he stack up against the rest of the league? His SP of .924 ranks him 11th in the AHL and represents a real improvement over previous seasons. The quality of Springfield’s team was better before the injuries and callups so we need to give credit in that regard when evaluating Dubnyk.
Dubnyk’s career progress is similar to JDD’s in many ways, as outlined very nicely by Bruce McCurdy recently. A reasonable argument can be made that the two goalies are of about equal value and if true then there are a few bookkeeping items that may impact their careers as early as next summer.
Impacting JDD: I stand to be corrected on this, but the Oilers needed to play JDD in a certain number of games (I believe it is 28) before the end of this season. He was in 10 games a year ago, 9 of which satisfied the 30-minute requirement. This season, Deslauriers has been in 11 games, 10 of which involved 30-minutes or more. So, if the Oilers are to hold on to his rights they’ll need to play him 30-minutes or more in 9 more NHL games this season. Correct? Please let me know if I’ve made any errors here as it is pretty important stuff but there’s not a lot of readily available (to me) information.
Impacting DD: Should the Oilers employ Khabibulin and Deslauriers next fall and send out Dubnyk, he would (I believe) need to clear waivers for the first time. Based on the exceptional steps the Oilers took to retain Deslauriers (three-headed monster) I doubt the team would hesitate to do it again but it is a story to follow as we roll along.
Dubnyk is the 11th Oiler-drafted goalie to play in the NHL. Since 1979, the team has drafted 35 goalies and Deslaurier’s career total places him 6th on the list already.
I don’t know if Dubnyk is going to have a long NHL career or even if he’ll have one at all. I do think he’s “in the range” of goaltenders where they have enough ability to get a real chance with a big league club and he’s also in the group of men who’ll need some luck in order to stay.