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Making the case for Devan Dubnyk

Aug 15, 2013, 6:55 PM EDT

Devan Dubnyk Getty Images

One position that’s often viewed as a weakness in Edmonton has been goaltending. Devan Dubnyk is out to change that perception.

Dubnyk has been, more or less, the man in Edmonton for the past two seasons and you could argue he’s been their best goalie going back to the 2010-11 season. Last season he put up the kind of numbers that made a case for him to be the permanent No. 1 guy.

Since debuting in the 2009-10 season with less-than exciting numbers (4-10-2, .889, 3.57), his last three seasons have been under-the-radar good for a goalie playing on a losing team. Over that time, his save percentage is a decent .917 to go along with a passable 2.65 goals-against average.

Last season he posted career-highs in SV% (.921) and GAA (2.57) and led the Oilers to 12th in the Western Conference. Even in spite of his play, the Oilers sniffed around at other goalies leading Dubnyk to wonder just why they team was doing that.

Many great goalies in the league benefit from having a great defense in front of them both on the blue line and at forward. Dubnyk’s time in Edmonton hasn’t really seen either of those things.

If you just focus on the defensemen, of the four guys who logged the most average minutes (Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Ladislav Smid, and Nick Schultz) they combined for a plus-minus rating of minus-30. Even with a flawed stat like plus-minus that’s astoundingly poor. They’ve added Boyd Gordon to strengthen the forward defense, but unless the blue line gets better the struggles will continue.

If the Oilers find a new dedication to defensive play under new head coach Dallas Eakins, Dubnyk could see a boost in his numbers and perhaps even a chance to show what he’s got in the postseason.

  1. pone27 - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Two words:

    Poor Guy. Seriously

  2. sleepybrown18 - Aug 15, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Dubnyk is a bum! He can’t handle pressure what so ever and he has no rebound control the goalie is a failure if we don’t make the playoffs it’s because of him. No respect

    • stakex - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      How can you tell if hes good under pressure? The Oilers haven’t scared the playoffs in the better part of a decade… and there is little pressure playing for a non-contender.

      …and the Oilers have far worse problems causing them to miss the playoffs, such as a non-existing defense and a talented but young offense.

  3. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Dubnyk is a lot like Reimer in Toronto. Has done what the team has asked of him, He’s stolen more games than he’s costed the team, but still can’t get the credit… Dubnyk had a .921 save % which a not a substandard… It’s actually quite good. Get the team some defense that can play defense, reduce the amount of shots he face and suddenly all those games you lost by a goal you start winning by a goal.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      A good stat to compare goalies is their save% when their team is 4 on 5, then look at how the team fares in total penalty minutes. If the goalie is better than average in 4 on 5, but his team is > agerage in PIM, then you can see that some of the penalties are directly impacting his save %.

  4. stakex - Aug 15, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    I won’t say this guy is a future star in the NHL or anything like that, but his numbers are pretty solid for a someone playing on such a bad team. If the Oilers did some patch work on the rest of their team, he could probably get them to the playoffs.

  5. jacketsfan7 - Aug 15, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Very underrated , image if this kid played for L.A , his numbers would be better no questions asked

  6. ray2013 - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    I’ve been watching these young Oilers for a while now. Dubnyk is solid, but he lacks that elite shut-down mode: think Quick when LA won the Cup. No matter how many scoring chances the opposing team had, Quick was going to find a way to stop prime scoring chances. With Dubnyk, he’s a solid bet to save shots that aren’t classified as scoring chances, but when a team did get in position for a solid scoring chance, they usually scored. That, of course, is just my opinion. But I’d be curious to know if anyone has done any analysis on save % in conjunction with scoring chances.


  7. sleepybrown18 - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    No.. Dubnyk actually sucks.. Yeah our defense isnt the greatest but our goalie situation is terrible. khabibulin was the guy that stole those games for us. Why do you think Mac T was trying to get a new goalie? Have any of you watch every single game last season? It was a joke! you can see the faces of his own players being like really?! That shouldnt of been a goal.

    • rockyspond - Aug 16, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Flames fan are you?
      Khabibulin won 4 of 12 games last season…can you remember which of that mighty total he stole?
      His GAA and Save% were practically identical to DD’s who won 14 games.

  8. sleepybrown18 - Aug 16, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Yeah He was hurt for a lot for the season but when he was there he made saves Dubnyk
    Could pull off for damn sure.

  9. rockyinjapan - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Yes I am an Oiler fan and I say this with some bias obviously;
    Big surprises for 2013-2014
    1) Dubnyk finally establishes himself as a top ten goalie in front of a much improved defence corp
    2) Eakins makes solid improvements in how the team responds as players finally will be accountable and will respond; no jab at Krueger or Renney, just a complete ‘oil Change’ takes shape with macT being quietly evident as the best change for the org.
    3) Nugent-Hopkins blows everybody away by X-mas and is on pace to lead the monster top 6 with Hall close or just ahead in pts.
    4) Gagner, Perron, and Yakupov begin to make a case for 1st line

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