Is Devan Dubnyk safe as the Oilers starting goalie?

Jonathan Willis
February 26 2013 12:16AM

On February 16, Devan Dubnyk was pulled in a game against Colorado after allowing three goals on nine shots. Nikolai Khabibulin replaced him and earned a win, stopping 16 of the 17 shots he faced. Since that game, Dubnyk has started just one contest, while Khabibulin has started three.

Is Dubnyk secure in the starting role, or could Khabibulin be stealing his job?

Khabibulin’s strong start

It looks right now like head coach Ralph Krueger’s going with a ‘win and you’re in’ approach, though we’re dealing with a small enough sample that this may not be the case. Khabibulin won against Colorado, and was rewarded with a start against L.A.; he lost that game so Dubnyk came in and lost to Minnesota; Khabibulin came back, beat Phoenix, and then got the start against Chicago.

The Chicago start was probably Khabibulin’s weakest of the year, and he was still quite good – Krueger said he played an excellent game in his post-game presser. All of his games have been good, as a quick look at his season statistics shows:

2011-12 Redux?

If this seems familiar, that’s likely because last season something very similar happened. Khabibulin collapsed down the stretch in 2010-11, and Dubnyk appeared to supplant him as the Oilers starting goaltender. Dubnyk earned the first start of the season, but was given very little rope in the starting role – Khabibulin excelled early, and then-coach Tom Renney turned the job over to him. Renney clearly entered the season with the idea of giving both goalies a shot, and Khabibulin was too good not to play.

From that October 20 win through Christmas, Khabibulin would start 19 games to Dubnyk’s nine, and his play warranted it. The problem was that Renney continued to give Khabibulin starts long after his play had slipped – Dubnyk won the starting job after Christmas and made 30 of the team’s final 48 starts – but Khabibulin still started 18 contests. The Oilers went 1-13-4 in Khabibulin’s starts; 16-11-3 in Dubnyk’s.

The difficulty was knowing when the music would stop for Khabibulin; his start was too good to be true and out of keeping with his post-lockout work. It’s the same problem Ralph Krueger will face if he continues to give Khabibulin starts – we know with relative certainty that Dubnyk is the superior goaltender to Khabibulin, so while riding the hot hand is fine to a point it’s playing with fire if it goes too far.

If Khabibulin had started five games rather than 18 after Christmas last season, and the Oilers kept up their average point percentage with Dubnyk over those 13 additional starts, it would have meant an additional 11 points for Edmonton. Ultimately, that would have worked against the team (no Yakupov, 12th in the West instead of 14th), but it would have put them 10 points out of the playoffs instead of 21. I don’t think it’s crazy to suggest that keeping Khabibulin in the regular rotation probably cost Tom Renney his job.

Is Khabibulin Just A Hot Starter?

This marks the second season in a row that Khabibulin’s gotten off to a good start in net – is it possible that he is a legitimately good goalie, but that age and injury catch up to him as the season carries on? It’s a nice idea, because it suggests that Khabibulin still has some utility as a strong backup option as long as he isn’t overused by the coach.

Unfortunately, that seems likely not to be the case. In 2005-06, Khabibulin got lit up like a Christmas tree in October (3-7-0, 0.851 SV%) before settling down a little the rest of the way. In 2006-07, his October save percentage was 0.890. In 2007-08, it was 0.892. In 2008-09, it was 0.918 – this was his best post-lockout season, the year he finished with a 0.919 save percentage and convinced the Oilers he was worth a four-year contract. Moving to Edmonton, he got hurt early in 2009-10, and then in 2010-11 posted a 0.901 SV% in October and a 0.847 SV% in November.

In short: it just so happens that his hot streaks have coincided with the beginning of the season the last two years – it would be a mistake to believe that this makes Khabibulin viable as long as his playing time is kept low.

What I Would Do

It’s great that Khabibulin has played so well for the Oilers, but everything he’s done since the 2004-05 lockout suggests that it’s going to stop, it’s going to stop soon, and when it stops he’s going to be bad. As Tyler Dellow points out in that linked piece above, Khabibulin has a 0.905 save percentage since turning 30, and we can probably expect him to be worse than his career average going forward given his age.

With that in mind, I’d play him in back-to-backs and otherwise keep him on the bench. Dubnyk is the much better option, the guy that is more likely to give the team a chance to win every night, and he should be started accordingly. One of the nice side effects of this decision is that it virtually guarantees Khabibulin won’t have a chance to see his save percentage drop – and at the deadline, given that he’s a Cup-winner, by all accounts a good, veteran, professional, and in the final year of his contract maybe, just maybe, he’ll be worth a draft pick from another team.

I certainly wouldn’t give him a chance to do to me what he did to the 2011-12 Oilers, and to Tom Renney.

To answer the title question: if Devan Dubnyk isn’t safe as the Oilers’ starter, somebody isn’t paying attention to recent history.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Jay
February 26 2013, 03:41AM
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Hayek wrote:

At this point of a rebuild, you have to think of playoff runs like a rowing race. If you push too soon, you'll lead for a bit, yet will have little chance of winning the race.

If Oilers somehow get close to playoffs this year (which they will not), the team should make zero moves that only have a short term impact.

This team needs to look to build up towards 2 years from now and going forward. This means no more short term fixes like wasting a 3rd rounder on Fistric, or acquiring assets that are not tradeable before they become UFAs. Now is the time to stock up on draft picks, and as many prospects as possible, so when the time comes to make a legitimate cup run, we will have many tradeable assets to pick up any short term (or potentially long term) help that is required.

This is the loser attitude we need to finally break away from! We need to win games before these guys give up! The longer we suck the harder it's going to be to get a winning attitude! We need to do whatever we can to start winning now

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#2 Chris.
February 26 2013, 06:41AM
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I'm going to be leading the mob onto Kingsway when Tambelllini extends Khabibulin.

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#3 Devolution
February 26 2013, 03:10AM
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Shane wrote:

JW,

What if the Oilers are holding or are close to a playoff position at the deadline? Do you risk thining out the goaltending depth for a depth pick before a possible playoff run?

Why don't we cross that laughably unlikely bridge when we come to it?

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#4 Hayek
February 26 2013, 03:18AM
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At this point of a rebuild, you have to think of playoff runs like a rowing race. If you push too soon, you'll lead for a bit, yet will have little chance of winning the race.

If Oilers somehow get close to playoffs this year (which they will not), the team should make zero moves that only have a short term impact.

This team needs to look to build up towards 2 years from now and going forward. This means no more short term fixes like wasting a 3rd rounder on Fistric, or acquiring assets that are not tradeable before they become UFAs. Now is the time to stock up on draft picks, and as many prospects as possible, so when the time comes to make a legitimate cup run, we will have many tradeable assets to pick up any short term (or potentially long term) help that is required.

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#5 gr8one
February 26 2013, 07:58AM
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One other possibility is they are "showcasing" him in the hopes that he continues his solid play long enough to increase his trade value nearer the deadline.

One can dream.

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#6 Romanus
February 26 2013, 08:37AM
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Ravo wrote:

If we somehow get a 4th rd pick for Khabibulin then i will come to the conclusion that. The janitor who cleans Tambellini's office, accidentally disconnected the phone while vacuuming back in August 08. While dropping his dusting rag notices it 4 1/2 years later and reconnects it.

Tambellini is sat in his office trying to figure out how to operate the blinds with the TV remote he stole from Detriot, when he hears a several rings turning he smiles at the phone. (we all know that smile) For the first time in 4 1/2 years answers the phone "hello", and BAM just like that we get a 4th rd pick for Khabibulin. Tambellini scratching his head thinks that was easy and decides to make a call, and BAM Whitney, Gagner, Hemskey and our 1st rd 2013 pick are traded for Lucic, Seguin and McQuaid . The janitor unknowingly has created a methed up version of a unmad Mike Milbury, and BAM Belanger, Peckham and a 2nd rd pick for Brassard and Erixon.

Keep living in your NHL 2013 fantasy world.

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#7 j
February 26 2013, 09:02AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Yes.

Khabibulin's track record is bad enough that I don't see it has a real loss.

Our issues are numerous and obvious, but our goalkeeping this year has been really good (minus the first SJ game). Whether Khabi can keep it up is irrelevant at this point. He is playing well and helping the team get points. The organization has known for years that he isn't the answer going forward - what has changed this month? Nothing. So why make a decision on him now when he is actually playing well and giving us a legitimate option in net? Suggesting we trade Khabi now is low hanging fruit. He is the least of our problems at the moment and won't bring much in return. Trade deadline.

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#8 Ducey
February 26 2013, 11:15AM
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@A-Mc

Is that you Mr Milbury?

Anyone suggesting we trade one of Hall, Nuge, or Eberle is on crack.

Those 3 players play the best lines on other teams and beat them in Rel Corsi (they outshoot them) every night. And they are all still on their ELC's!

Compare that to teams like Vancouver who line match to keep the Sedins away from tough minutes.

Can you imagine how awesome Nuge is going to be when he is 25? You are going to give that away so you can do a little better this year?

Give your head a shake.

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#9 The Soup Fascist
February 26 2013, 11:28AM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

I wonder if Khabby actually provides any sort of mentor ship for Dubnyk? You'd think he'd be able to with nearly 20 years in the league, but he doesn't strike me as that sort.

We need two guys - not management - who have won Cups on this team. Check that; guys that played at least a moderate role in their team winning the Cup. Guys who know what it takes.

Last episode of Oil Change, Dubnyk raved about Khabby as a teammate and mentor. Basically said Khabby was very generous with his time / knowledge and always was happy to help Dubey out and he felt nothing but support from the old timer.

Now, one can question how effective the mentorship has been ...... but it does sound like Khabby is doing his best.*

*Unless it was Khabby who suggested he do the lame Capital Power commercials, then he is obviously trying to drive Dubey out of town.

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#10 Wax Man Riley
February 26 2013, 05:16PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Krueger is mismanaging Yakupov, and if he's not careful he could bolt to the KHL.

Yakupov is almost the leading scorer on the Oilers while getting almost zero quality minutes.

Yakupov will be better in the long run.

can't argue about Galcheyuk, great player.

Krueger is NOT mismanaging Yakupov. That is an Oilers Fan(ish) buzzword.

"They mismanaged Gagner"---(to be fair they totally did by rushing him)

"They mismanaged Cogliano" --- (Same thing, rushed him)

"They mismanaged Deslauriers" -- (TOTALLY did! No farm team???? wtf??)

And now with Yakupov they can actually afford to bring him along slowly. Play him on a lower line with veterans. Let him learn the NHL game, goalies, players, schedule, etc... without having the pressure of the team losing if he doesn't contribute. There is actual depth for the first time in forever.

People talk about The Detroit Model. Detroit has been able to bring guys along slower because they have depth. It is a good thing that Yak plays 14 min a night instead of 20.

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#11 GVBlackhawk
February 26 2013, 05:58PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Do you honestly believe what you just said?

So what you are saying is that Yakupov WILL benefit from playing with Petrell and Vandevelde?

So who exactly is the veteran on that line? The AHL player or the second year guy?

So, the Detroit model, bringing guys in slowly……..Like Hall, Eberle or RNH?

Where is this depth you speak of?

The Oilers lose Horcoff of all the players to lose and the good ship Oilers almost sinks…..That depth!

This needs serious re-evaluation..

I don't mind his minutes but completely agree with you...they should not put him on a line with two boat anchors.

FWIW, I don't see Yak as the big problem on the second line. Yes, his defensive game needs work but Gagner and Hemsky are the veterans and their defensive acumen has been subpar this year. This has not changed by taking Yak off their line. Time for Gagner and Hemsky to take some responsibility in their own zone.

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#12 common sense
February 26 2013, 01:25AM
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I also agree. The Bulin Wall is looking pretty decent though lately but if you're a disciplined coach you've got to see the logic that presented itself last year. Man the game against Chicago was ragged. Smid and Petry looked terrible. I just don't see Smid making any decent breakout passes. He's become the classic chip it out of there defenseman. He's hardly a supreme shutdown D. We need to upgrade our D bigtime.

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#13 exsanguinator
February 26 2013, 05:13AM
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Honestly, trade one of the fab four for an actual defense man. Yak is an unknown, Hall drives the play like nobody else on the team so it's time to let go of Eberle or the Nuge. Dub may or may not be a starter but Emery and Crawford aren't starters either.

There are very few goalies that win games for teams but a lot that lose games for teams. This team needs defense.

Also, to address a comment made earlier, there is a remarkable amount of parity in the WC aside from ANA and CHG... it's not laughable that the Oil may be in the mix come trade deadline time.

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#14 MarcusBillius
February 26 2013, 06:59AM
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He's safe. Khabi is old. Oilers need to see if Dubnyk can carry the load, that's why he has a two-year deal.

Khabi only started a second in a row because it was Chicago.

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#15 Spydyr
February 26 2013, 07:56AM
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The Oilers extended an outrageous contract based on a small sample size yet again

They did it with Pasani and Horcoff also.

They could have signed Anderson but took Khabi instead.

Hindsight is 20/20 but when the same mistakes are made over and over again a pattern develops.

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#16 Ravo
February 26 2013, 08:03AM
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If we somehow get a 4th rd pick for Khabibulin then i will come to the conclusion that. The janitor who cleans Tambellini's office, accidentally disconnected the phone while vacuuming back in August 08. While dropping his dusting rag notices it 4 1/2 years later and reconnects it.

Tambellini is sat in his office trying to figure out how to operate the blinds with the TV remote he stole from Detriot, when he hears a several rings turning he smiles at the phone. (we all know that smile) For the first time in 4 1/2 years answers the phone "hello", and BAM just like that we get a 4th rd pick for Khabibulin. Tambellini scratching his head thinks that was easy and decides to make a call, and BAM Whitney, Gagner, Hemskey and our 1st rd 2013 pick are traded for Lucic, Seguin and McQuaid . The janitor unknowingly has created a methed up version of a unmad Mike Milbury, and BAM Belanger, Peckham and a 2nd rd pick for Brassard and Erixon.

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#17 Spydyr
February 26 2013, 08:04AM
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Ravo wrote:

If we somehow get a 4th rd pick for Khabibulin then i will come to the conclusion that. The janitor who cleans Tambellini's office, accidentally disconnected the phone while vacuuming back in August 08. While dropping his dusting rag notices it 4 1/2 years later and reconnects it.

Tambellini is sat in his office trying to figure out how to operate the blinds with the TV remote he stole from Detriot, when he hears a several rings turning he smiles at the phone. (we all know that smile) For the first time in 4 1/2 years answers the phone "hello", and BAM just like that we get a 4th rd pick for Khabibulin. Tambellini scratching his head thinks that was easy and decides to make a call, and BAM Whitney, Gagner, Hemskey and our 1st rd 2013 pick are traded for Lucic, Seguin and McQuaid . The janitor unknowingly has created a methed up version of a unmad Mike Milbury, and BAM Belanger, Peckham and a 2nd rd pick for Brassard and Erixon.

Wake up your dreaming.Funny dream though.

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#18 Ravo
February 26 2013, 08:22AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Wake up your dreaming.Funny dream though.

I have to amuse myself somehow because watching the Oilers makes me pull my hair out, throw beer cans at my TV and everyone in my appt buiilding thinks i have Tourette's syndrome.

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#19 Ravo
February 26 2013, 08:44AM
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Romanus wrote:

Keep living in your NHL 2013 fantasy world.

Oh really! Do you honestly think i was serious OMG! Your probably sat there smiling like Tambellini thinking your clever. Actually it was a complete joke just like the Oilers organization

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#21 Clarko
February 26 2013, 12:30PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

MacKinnon and Gudbranson would be fine additions to this falls line up. One's in the bag and shouldn't have to give up one of the fab 5 to get the other.

Krueger's just doing it his way and starting the goalie that gives the team the best chance to win. Not Ralphs fault when Dubnyk isn't that guy some nights. Khabibulin's just the better goalie right now. The Luongo option is starting to look good now as the season marches on.

Of course, Dubnyk has a better save percentage than Luongo behind a much weaker defense. I guess it just Oiler's perception that the other guy on the other team always looks better no matter what the stats say.

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#22 Smokey
February 26 2013, 03:55PM
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Also why do people think Yak's a flight risk. In the KHL he was a third line player playing 14 mins a night, sounds like about the same role on the Oilers.

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#23 Wax Man Riley
February 26 2013, 05:49PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Do you honestly believe what you just said?

So what you are saying is that Yakupov WILL benefit from playing with Petrell and Vandevelde?

So who exactly is the veteran on that line? The AHL player or the second year guy?

So, the Detroit model, bringing guys in slowly……..Like Hall, Eberle or RNH?

Where is this depth you speak of?

The Oilers lose Horcoff of all the players to lose and the good ship Oilers almost sinks…..That depth!

This needs serious re-evaluation..

Oilers lose Horcoff and everything sinks?? Center depth is pretty weak, but Yakupov plays wing. The point is that he doesn't have to be the man on the top line. Oilers have top line players. Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, and an audition spot.

Yes. Yakupov benefits playing on the 3rd line. Easier competition, less minutes, veterans taking the lead.

When Horcoff comes back I want to see him centering the 3rd line with Yakupov and Smyth/PRV/Jones

He is not being mismanaged.

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#24 Wax Man Riley
February 26 2013, 05:59PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Do you honestly believe what you just said?

So what you are saying is that Yakupov WILL benefit from playing with Petrell and Vandevelde?

So who exactly is the veteran on that line? The AHL player or the second year guy?

So, the Detroit model, bringing guys in slowly……..Like Hall, Eberle or RNH?

Where is this depth you speak of?

The Oilers lose Horcoff of all the players to lose and the good ship Oilers almost sinks…..That depth!

This needs serious re-evaluation..

Hall and RNH were put in the positions right after their draft year out of necessity and lack of depth.

Eberle went back to junior, played in 2 WJCs, played in the AHL and World Championships before playing his first NHL game. He was 20 before playing his first game. Not 18. Big difference.

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#25 2004Z06
February 26 2013, 08:37PM
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What is with the Yakupov love in? You want him on the ice for 20 minutes a night? Watch him play. For every opportunity he gets, he turns the puck over trying to carry it too long or with a bad pass that gets picked off 3 times. He might score you 2, but 4 will be in the back of our net. He WILL be a good player, but he is a major defensive liability and until he learns how to play a two way game, Krueger is using him exactly how he should. Power play specialist.

If the Oilers could score more than 2 goals a game and get more than a one goal lead, then the coach might feel better about extending his ice time.

Just because Hall and Nuge were forced into top roles due to lack of talent elswhere, doesn't mean we have to throw Yakupov into the fire. Be patient, he will get his opportunities and be a much more well rounded player because of it.

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#26 Sanaa Montana
February 26 2013, 12:54AM
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YES.!..100%.!..

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#27 Shane
February 26 2013, 02:20AM
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JW,

What if the Oilers are holding or are close to a playoff position at the deadline? Do you risk thining out the goaltending depth for a depth pick before a possible playoff run?

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#28 DrunkGuyTy
February 26 2013, 06:49AM
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I wonder if Khabby actually provides any sort of mentor ship for Dubnyk? You'd think he'd be able to with nearly 20 years in the league, but he doesn't strike me as that sort.

We need two guys - not management - who have won Cups on this team. Check that; guys that played at least a moderate role in their team winning the Cup. Guys who know what it takes.

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#29 DrunkGuyTy
February 26 2013, 06:49AM
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Goalies don't count.

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#30 Serious Gord
February 26 2013, 07:51AM
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Dubnyk is a big goalie, yet plays smaller. Watch the goals scored on him in his last start: he tends to flinch inwards - pulling his arms and elbows in as the shot approaches. Big positional goalies like him and ward and quick need to block shots not field them by flinging out the arm or mixing out a leg.

Ward and quick seem to blow up like puffer fish as the shot approaches. Quick say he even leans his body forward to angle off the top of the net.

Dubnyk does neither.

And I think these and other technical shortcomings are obvious to the coaching staff. Thus Kroeger goes with khabi as long as he keeps stopping g shots.

And so yet another shortcoming - high quality reliable goaltending - that everyone knew was a question mark at the beginning of the year looks to still be unaddressed by KL&T.

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#31 godot10
February 26 2013, 08:08AM
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6 games in 9 nights upcoming.

Both are going to play. That both are playing well going into the toughest stretch of the season is great.

The pace from here to the end of the season is pretty intense.

Two goaltenders sharing the load is a pretty good situation to be in.

Viewing a potential strength as a "problem" is just silly, IMHO.

Plus, there are teams that might be interested in Khabibulin at the trade deadline if he is playing well. The Oilers actually might be able to get a draft pick for him.

Even Grant Fuhr reclaimed the net in the playoffs the following year for a lot of games after Ranford had won the Cup.

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#32 godot10
February 26 2013, 08:15AM
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In April, the Oilers have a 4 games in 6 night stretch, and later a second 6 games in 9 nights to end the season.

I think you want two goaltenders.

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#33 DrunkGuyTy
February 26 2013, 08:35AM
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@Serious Gord

I picked up on that 'flinch' as well last game. Wondered if he was trying to protect the 7-hole? ...let them have it - I don't think most shooters are ballsy enough to go there consistently.

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#36 Serious Gord
February 26 2013, 09:00AM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

I picked up on that 'flinch' as well last game. Wondered if he was trying to protect the 7-hole? ...let them have it - I don't think most shooters are ballsy enough to go there consistently.

I thought the same thing - blocking the seven hole rather than playing the odds and showing shooters less net. Seems pretty clear that some shooters are figuring out that he's weak to the glove side as a result.

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#37 Shane
February 26 2013, 09:01AM
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@Jonathan Willis

So you run Roy and Bunz in OKC and DD and Danis in Etown for their respective playoff run(hypothetical) or are you looking at aquiring another G?? And if so what would we really be gaining in that situation with a 6th round pick?

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#38 Zipdot
February 26 2013, 09:06AM
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DrunkGuyTy wrote:

I wonder if Khabby actually provides any sort of mentor ship for Dubnyk? You'd think he'd be able to with nearly 20 years in the league, but he doesn't strike me as that sort.

We need two guys - not management - who have won Cups on this team. Check that; guys that played at least a moderate role in their team winning the Cup. Guys who know what it takes.

Yes, Dubnyk has spoken plenty of times about how awesome Khabi is as a mentor and partner. I've heard him talk about this like 3 times.

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#39 Sam
February 26 2013, 09:07AM
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JW,

Do you think there is any trade value for Khabibulin?

What is he worth?

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#40 Clarko
February 26 2013, 09:09AM
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Dubnyk is currently ranked 11th among all goalies who have started at least 10 games this season. I'm not saying he is perfect, but if you are going to try and replace him, you are going to have to trade for a top 10 goalie. Those guys are very hard to come by.

Dubnyk has been solid and I'm not sure what the strategy is by sitting him out an entire week. It is very clear that Khabibulin won't be your starter when this team is a real contender, so why aren't they playing the goalie that will be. Khabby should only be played in the back-to-back games, while Dubnyk plays the rest.

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#41 Clarko
February 26 2013, 09:12AM
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Clarko wrote:

Dubnyk is currently ranked 11th among all goalies who have started at least 10 games this season. I'm not saying he is perfect, but if you are going to try and replace him, you are going to have to trade for a top 10 goalie. Those guys are very hard to come by.

Dubnyk has been solid and I'm not sure what the strategy is by sitting him out an entire week. It is very clear that Khabibulin won't be your starter when this team is a real contender, so why aren't they playing the goalie that will be. Khabby should only be played in the back-to-back games, while Dubnyk plays the rest.

Ranked 11th in save percentage that is! :)

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#42 Rama Lama
February 26 2013, 09:12AM
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Watching Patrick Kane last night was a treat.........for a guy who hardly moves his legs, he sure flies out there! Must have taken power skating lessons when he was young.........last year.

Is is jus me or does Eberle, RNH, and Schultz look tired. Maybe they were overplayed in OKC? In any regards something needs to change to alter the dynamics on this team.......our game and general puck management strategy is all to predictible.

If any one know the answer, exactly what was Belenger brought in for? Watching the guy play hockey reminds me of Anson Carter.........no heart, no skills, but can skate fast ocassionally.

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#46 Shane
February 26 2013, 09:24AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Watching Patrick Kane last night was a treat.........for a guy who hardly moves his legs, he sure flies out there! Must have taken power skating lessons when he was young.........last year.

Is is jus me or does Eberle, RNH, and Schultz look tired. Maybe they were overplayed in OKC? In any regards something needs to change to alter the dynamics on this team.......our game and general puck management strategy is all to predictible.

If any one know the answer, exactly what was Belenger brought in for? Watching the guy play hockey reminds me of Anson Carter.........no heart, no skills, but can skate fast ocassionally.

I agree with you on the kids. I'm sure that RNH is hurt, and I think it's that left shoulder, doesn't seem like he can get much on it, even while he's passing, seemed much better last year. Schultz is beat, not used to this many games.

Although once again I'll have to disagree with you on Belanger(I know he's your whipping boy this season Rama) just look at the PK this year. Belanger is a HUGE part of that. And you gotta hand it to the guy, he's playing with 2/3 broken toes!!

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#47 pelhem grenville
February 26 2013, 09:28AM
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...well there you have it ladies...and gents ...JW "...I'm a little worried..."

officially starting the countdown when our GM will extend 35 as next years' backup...of course why wouldn't he do that ... our GM's done little else to really improve the state of our goaltending 'sitch'(and no Dubnyk's not safe as a starter because he's not starter caliber) let alone the bottom six forwards or anymore top pairing Dmen... dollars to donuts he's gonna give him a two year deal at a million+ per ...saves him a ton of work to actually go out and do any sort of deal so why not...?

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#48 bdiddy18
February 26 2013, 09:38AM
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because you can't have a hockey season without goaltender controversy...we must make khabbi's recent starts bigger than what it is...

Dubnyk has faced a lot of shots in the first 18 games he has actually probably played 23.

So the kid is the no.1 and he will get his starts back. This last stretch was excellent use of schedule to rest your No. 1 goalie before another heavy load.

A week in between starts where only 2 games where played - great coaching!

Fully expect Dubnyk to shutout the Stars on Thursday - redemption for the junk goals(never happen again in 1000 tries) scored on him the last time they played.

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#49 CurtisS
February 26 2013, 09:59AM
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Dubby droped the ball last game he played and Habby has been playing great. I think you go back to Dubby but if he drops the ball again, its dejvu all over and you have to think Dubby will not be the goalie for the future.

Like sportsnet said last night. The future is now. Dubby is dropping the ball a bit.

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#50 Oiler Al
February 26 2013, 10:16AM
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No panic folks, both goalies had an easy week. Habby started because of his background with the Hawks, nothing more to the story . Move along.

Habby will not be resigned for next year , I would bet my last dollar on it. My concern would be development of a backup for Dubnyk for next year. As with a lot of the positions in the OKC, there isnt much happening in terms of futures for the Oilers. So much for the magic of Stu Macgregor.

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