The Remarkable Devan Dubnyk

I’m a skeptic about the value of drafting and developing goaltenders. I think their development is slower and less reliable than that of other prospects. I think they’re cheap and readily available from Europe or via free agency. With all that out of the way, the Oilers may have a gem in Devan Dubnyk.

I’m bringing up Dubnyk here because while everyone has an opinion on Jeff Deslauriers, and he’s getting plenty of opportunity to show what he can do, his competition for a spot next year has been quietly sitting on the bench. Yet, in so doing Dubnyk may have shown something that reveals his value rather starkly, but hasn’t really been talked about.

I refer to his absence from the Springfield Falcons, and I’d like to compare his performance on that team to the performance of his backups, Aaron Sorochan and Andrew Perugini:

  • Dubnyk: 18GP, 9-8-1, .924 SV%
  • Others: 13GP, 1-8-1, .874 SV%

It’s particularly relevant because of who Dubnyk’s backups are. Sorochan is 25 years old, and has a solid track record in both CIS and the WHL. This summer, when the Oilers were considering signing him, plenty of media types (including some on this site) were firm believers in his ability. Meanwhile, the 21-year old Perugini had a solid OHL career and has shown himself to be a fine ECHL goaltender over the last few years, outperforming drafted prospects like Glenn Fisher and Bryan Pitton. I’ve been a staunch supporter of him as a legitimate prospect since the Oilers first invited him on a training camp tryout.

In short, these are guys who shouldn’t have floundered, but flounder they have, while Dubnyk has flourished. It’s enough to make me wonder if Springfield’s lousy performance hasn’t been hampering Dubnyk’s numbers, and it’s a strong argument that we should be taking Devan Dubnyk seriously as a prospect.

  • Victoria

    If they OIL had played in front of Khabby the way they're playing in front of JDD right now, Bulin's numbers would be impressive too. Khabby has played way better than his stats suggest. He's been an upgrade on Rolli since the day he got here. Sure his 4 year deal sucks down the road but we could always buy out the last 2 years or so if JDD or DD can really take over. Then Bulin's cap hit drops from 4M to 1M or something like that (someone can correct me if I'm wrong). But for right now I'd still go with Khabby.

  • Slapshot

    Used to watch Dubynk when I lived in Kamloops. Nice kid, but couldn't perform under pressure. Always gave up the goal when the heat was on, but looked great in mean nothing games. He was always the goalie that was cut on junior squads as well. I think the Oilers wasted a pick on him personally.

  • Oilers fans are the most shortsight bunch that can ever exist. Are you people nuts at suggesting that we should trade bulin my god, he is a veteran guy who can come in and provide stability on the back end. could Jdd handle a playoff drive better than bulin, it would be foolish to says so. The player i am sure find it easier to rally around bulin if he lets a weak one in as opposed to JDD with 24 games of experience..

  • Slapshot

    Too early in JDD's career to give him the reigns of the team. Sometimes he looks shaky and he needs to figure out fast if he's going to Marty Turco or Tommy Salo with the puck. When he goes out to play the puck I shudder and close my eyes and hope I don't hear the G word. Khabbi is still the Cup winning goalie and the guy backstopped the Hawks to the WCF last year and right now that's the guy we should have manning our net and not to mention that he came here. I don't know what other offers he had but he chose Edmonton. A time like this we don't need to be shipping away what is a proven Cup winner and a guy who he and his family actually want to be in Edmonton. We don't get a whole lot of those thanks to Mrs Pronger. So from the bottom of my heart thanks Mrs Bulin Wall for actually enjoying the city.

  • Jason Gregor

    The Oilers have recalled Bryan Pitton and sent Dubynk to the minors. Expect him to play tonight and then they recall him back or he plays Tuesday and then comes back. My bet is he plays tonight and then he will come to Edmonton and practice on Monday. I don't know if they want to rish having Pitton play in case JDD gets hurt during a game.

  • "In short, these are guys who shouldn’t have floundered, but flounder they have, while Dubnyk has flourished."

    If you were looking at it with an objectivity the Oilers recalled McDonald, O'Marra, Reddox, and Arsene during that stretch. Also, then losing Taylor, Paukovich, and Armstrong for some games. While that might not look large to "a guy in the know", while being with out Minard before that trip losing your checking line, your top offensive defensemen, and shutdown defenseman and replacing them with the likes of Bates, Morgan, Henrich, Nickerson, Young and over playing rookies Motin and Plante won't get you very far. Some of those players can't stick in the ECHL.

    It's always deeper than stats.

    • Alon

      To also be fair, if you were looking at it objectively, the difference between 0.874 and 0.924 is pretty large. You can context that all you want, but the fact still is DD is definitively out performing his back-ups. To expand on this, when DD and Sorochan were playing with the same line ups, Sorochan was playing at around 0.890 save %, care to explain away that in context? Case in point DD has been blowing away his back ups.

      So I guess you're right, it really is deeper than stats.

        • Alon

          Please. You can't expect Dubnyk to be very good after sitting around and watching Deslauriers play for as long as he did. Not realistic.

          That's much the same problem Deslauriers had playing behind Roloson and Garon in the past. You can't sit around for two or three weeks between starts and be as sharp as you would be with consistent game action.

        • Alon

          ~Oh geez, that's right OilBaron, one game is totally the best indicator concerning a player. Specifically the one game he played after sitting on the bench for two weeks. I am sorry for doubting your ever so impeccable logic. I mean you totally included all the context in your post and didn't completely fail to mention any other bits of context that would compromise your central argument.~

          Cherry pick much?

          With a better line up then Perugini and Sorochan, Dubnyk also has had the following totals:

          1GA on 33 shots
          3GA on 36 shots
          2GA on 36 shots
          1GA on 40 shots
          2GA on 34 shots

          I could go to show you the trend, but I think you got the point (in case you didn't I'll repeat myself. One game does not a pattern make).

          To borrow a phrase from you, if you want to look at things "objectively"(actually I'm cherry picking, but I thought since you used the word objectively and then cherry picked, I could too)
          Nov 28/09
          JDD 4 GA on 11 shots for a .636
          DD: 3 ga 24 shots .875
          And that's with the same team for and against. Boy does that ever make JDD look bad in comparison. Oh wait, I forgot! It's only one game.

          So just to recap the whole point for you (again, just so you don't forget), you failed to make your point. In fact your own attempt at remaining "objective" really turned into proliferating your own subjective opinions about DD. So next time when you say you are going to be objective, actually BE objective.

          • Willis is calling the state of his backups a decline. The sample size is small. Using his parameters the team has fallen since he left, now that he's back he didn't do much to improve the team. Is it decline or the fact that it is not a good team this year? The latter. But, Willis has an agenda that a background doesn't fit with a little extra digging.

          • Alon

            OilBaron, the problem with backup goalies is that their sample size will ALWAYS be small. Often times when tracking players (and specifically back up goalies) you need to track it over several years to get the best possible data. However, this doesn't change the fact that DD's play on the year has been significantly better than his back-ups (worse roster or not a .05 difference in sv% is HUGE).

            If you want to claim that the team not being good has negatively affected their back-ups performance, then surely you must also think the same for Dubnyk? That would make Dubnyks .924 (or w/e it is now) all that more impressive, wouldn't you agree? You seem to forget that you also have an agenda in this whole debate, and that with a little thinking your base argument doesn't make sense, because the actual context of the stats that you are arguing makes DD look all the better.

          • Hardly, if Willis had come out at the begining of the year with this statement you could see that there is no agenda behind it. "The backups aren't good enough". Fair enough it's an opinion of sorts. But, he didn't. He waited until 3 weeks after the call up of Dubnyk for some diagnosis that discounted the impact of very real injuries and call ups to Springfield. Oh and oops, with a better lineup than Perugini and Sorochan had Dubnyk got dismantled as well. The losing is a trend of the team and not of the goalies specifically.

          • Alon

            Obviously you didn't read what I wrote, so I don't know why I bother to reply, but alas I will reply again, but this time I quote you:

            "Hardly, if Willis had come out at the beginning of the year with this statement you could see that there is no agenda behind it"

            -Where did I say Willis didn't have an agenda? Everyone has an agenda, people who say things without some sort of agenda or meaning tend to have what could be called mental handicaps. The only reason you continue to complain is to further your own anti-DD agenda, which is fine, because you are entitled to your own opinion. Also, if you bothered at all to do some research, JW (and other around the 'sphere) have all been saying similar things about DD for the last while, so it's not like JW said what he did to dig at Sorochan or Perugini (in fact if you were reading you would realize that he compliment both of them).

            "'The backups aren't good enough' That's fine, it's an opinion of sorts."

            – It is an opinion actually. It's an opinion that has been backed up by fact.

            "He waited until 3 weeks after the call up of Dubnyk for some diagnosis that discounted the impact of very real injuries and call ups to Springfield. Oh and oops, with a better lineup than Perugini and Sorochan had Dubnyk got dismantled as well"

            – If you don't see the blatant contradiction in those two sentences, then this is all hopeless. Because Mr. Context, you seem to have forgotten that you have totally cherry picked the context that supports your context and ignored the one big piece of context that dismantles everything you argue. In case you haven't figured out what that piece of evidence that you left out yet it is the fact that DD played one game after sitting on the bench for 3 weeks. You have numerous other holes in your argument as well, but that's just the biggest contradiction. At some point during the games that DD missed Sorochan and Perugini played with a similar line up to the one DD played with last night. It is entirely unreasonable to assume that for this one game all 5 or 6 players that were gone just suddenly reappeared. And even if that were true you still can't explain away the fact that the backups played @ .874 and DD at .924, because that difference is huge. And finally like I said before when they played with the same line up DD is @ .924 and Sorochan was around .890. There is absolutely no doubt that DD has been better this year then you are willing to give him credit for.

          • -I'm saying Willis has an agenda. As have others.

            -It's an opinion backing up his view point with skewed statistics and a lack of analysis of the back ground of the situation.

            -There's no contradiction at all. You just don't like it.

            -You can explain the difference in the GAA it is in the roster with call ups and injuries occuring after the departure of Dubnyk.

            -If you have been paying attention I'm neither slagging Dubnyk (although I'm no fan) or pumping the tires of backups. The premise of the whole blog is the agenda of Willis and a stupid comment to make when not noting all the factors. But, such is life for a guy who can only quote stats and doesn't understand the why.

            -If you have been watching the situation in Springfield you'll know that the head coach hasn't blamed the goalies in the losing streak.

            -Quote accurate stats. DD is a 0.917.

            -This is a bad team and it's nothing to do with the goalies.

          • Alon

            -I'm saying Willis has an agenda. As have others.

            ~No way!~ Of course, but you seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that you are at the same time proliferating your own agenda.

            -It's an opinion backing up his view point with skewed statistics and a lack of analysis of the back ground of the situation.

            And your post that included the stats for the only game DD has played in 3 weeks, without mentioning the fact, as a defense of your point is neither skewed or without a lack of analysis of the background of the situation?

            -There's no contradiction at all. You just don't like it.

            Actually there's a horrible contradiction and it's been pointed out to you by at least 2 people besides myself (one of them being Robin Brownlee). But just to remind you AGAIN you complained about a lack of context, and then backed up your argument by siting cherry picked stats while providing inappropriate context. Now either you are engaging in some sort of ironic satire, or you're stupid take your pick.

            And of course I don't like what you're saying, but that's just because you have completely failed for the 4th time to support anything you say.

            -If you have been paying attention I'm neither slagging Dubnyk (although I'm no fan) or pumping the tires of backups. The premise of the whole blog is the agenda of Willis and a stupid comment to make when not noting all the factors. But, such is life for a guy who can only quote stats and doesn't understand the why.

            Man if the sentence: "Oh and oops, with a better lineup than Perugini and Sorochan had Dubnyk got dismantled as well" isn't both a slag on Dubnyk and boosting up Perugini and Sorchan then I don't know what is. And again you contradict yourself, you're still complaining about a lack of context, well never providing more context then is necessary for your own argument. In fact after I showed you this, you haven't ever re-addressed your original premise which means you obviously understand that it's wrong.

            -If you have been watching the situation in Springfield you'll know that the head coach hasn't blamed the goalies in the losing streak.

            MacT never blamed Moreau for taking all those stupid Offensive zone penalties. That whole point has no relevance to the equation, whether or not Daum blamed the backups doesn't explain away their combined .874. And obviously if Daum isn't in the mood to blame goalies for some bad team play, then he also probably doesn't hold anything against DD for last night, so maybe you should forgive the kid too.

            -This is a bad team and it's nothing to do with the goalies.

            That was quite possibly the worst thing you could have said. Obviously you are totally stretching, because you completely destroyed your whole argument. Because the fact that you claim that this is a bad team and their recent bad performance can't be blamed on the goalies, you entirely explained away last nights game. You also just made DD's .917 look that much better in comparison to his backups .874 because he's played that much better on a pretty bad team.

          • Sorochan and Perugini aren't in the same class as Dubnyk. There's no getting around that.

            Sorochan was signed to a one-way deal for $40,000 to play 15-20 games behind Dubnyk. He's not a prospect. He's a nice story because he came from right off the radar to get a contract, but he's a depth player in goal, nothing more.

          • This is the biggest problem with the article to me. True it doesn't account for call-ups, injuries, etc, but it also doesn't even begin to explain if we are looking at great play from Dubnyk or terrible play from the backups.

          • Bucknuck

            I think that Willis was showing the numbers not to talk about how bad Sorochan or Perugini are, but to speak about how good he thinks Dubnyk is. If you read other posts by Willis you will discover that he believes Goalie prospects are fairly easy to come by, so why would he be stressing about the state of Springfield falcons goalies?

            The Oilers are in great shape between the pipes now that JDD has shown that he can be effective when called upon. You have a Stanley cup winner veteran Goaltender with some gas in the tank, and you have two prospects that look like they could be kick a$$.

            The problem I see is down the road. Next year we either have a three headed monster or lose one of the three. What a bummer.

          • Alon

            I tried to say the same thing, but it kinda turned into a flame session, because I can't stand it when people are so blatantly contradictory when they attempt to construct an argument.

            Well said.

    • Watch the angles being pursued, and you can tell where a writer is coming from. Willis believes Dubnyk is a better prospect than Deslauriers.

      I don't recall reading anything from JW about how playing behind a horsecrap team like Springfield might have hurt Deslauriers AHL numbers. Or that he showed remarkable jam to stick with it while being shunted around the minors when the Oilers didn't even have an AHL team. Now this on Dubnyk.

      Willis crunched the numbers some time ago and concluded Deslauriers is a middling prospect. He's not going to backtrack on that until he absolutely has to. That day is coming.

      • HansBaurMesserschmittWatson

        The one thing no one tends to point out when saying JDD was behind bad teams. The fact that when with WBS Penguins he was on one of the best teams in the AHL. They had a pretty solid D corps in front of him too. He was given the starter role. But he went in the tank in the middle/later part of the season.

        He seemed to not be coming out of it. The Pens brought AHL journeyman Nolan Schaefer. They split the starts for a bit but Schaefer was clearly the better goalie at the time and JDD lost his starting job. Schaefer also played in all 11 playoff games.

        I just think it is fair to mention all of that when mentioning JDD got shuttled around early and lacked playing time. Also Springfield for the first portion of his season there were a decent team and were in a playoff spot. Then injuries hit Oilers like crazy and also Springfield. The team started going side ways and JDD did not play well when that happened either and when the team obviously needed him most. A young Dubnyk came in and took over the starting job for while because of this.

        I certainly hope JDD turns into something good and more than just an okay back up. Which I have thought might be his roof for a while now. I think if you ask any Oiler fan that regularly bought Falcon games online or Falcon fans in attendance. That when JDD gets hot he gets really hot and when he gets cold he is extremely cold/awful. He streaks for long stretches in both directions. Maybe he has finally shored up his weaknesses (Chabot so far is looking like a good hire) and found a way to be consistent? I/we can only hope for that.

        I am not going to go calling him as a good NHLer for a while yet. Because if his game turns south in the middle/later part of the year like it often does in his history. Well we can only hope Khabi is ready to return by then or it could get ugly. Full marks for Jeff on what he has accomplished thus far and a nice road trip.

      • Hemmertime

        Why such animosity towards a fellow ON writer? We appreciate his work and opinion. Your "Raging Robin" is sometimes mildly amusing when directed towards commenters although over half the time you are the aggressor in a hostile conversation. You may not be a believer in number crunching but writing posts laced with malice at a fellow writer (and a good one, with thought out opinions) is childish and puts you on the level of most 13 year old children. This is multiple threads that you've let your obvious distaste of JW through and from what I have seen he has been nothing but civil. You don't bash Wanye for his "pull it out my ass" predictions and articles, which one might assume would be of more offense to your high standards of journalism.

        His analysis may very well be the way of the future, The Score obviously preferred it to yours. There is space in this world for more than just your opinion.

        • Laced with malice? You haven't seen malice.

          Mildly amusing? Don't patronize me with a backhanded compliment like that. I don't care if you find what I do mildly amusing or highly offensive. Either way, fine.

          The Score "preferred it to yours?" Who is commenting with nothing but malice now? With my resume, forgive me if I'm not hurt by that.

          As for the rest of it, and putting aside that you make a point of getting under my skin with "I'm not scared of big bad Brownlee" theatrics like in your latest comments, I'll say this.

          Willis not only has every right to post his takes on things here, that's what we want. That's why he gets paid to do it. I've gone after people pretty hard who have suggested otherwise. Fact is, Willis does a lot of good work here. He's a bright guy who comes at things differently than I do. There's nothing wrong with that.

          That said, when I read something that doesn't make sense to me or contains errors or is flat out wrong, I'm going to have my say. If I have questions or issues about somebody's way of assessing players/coaches etc., I will voice them when I see fit. That happens with Willis more than anybody else because of his heavy reliance on advanced statistics. I don't put nearly as much weight in them. That's a basis for ongoing debate right there. What am I going to call out Wanye on, his choice of beers or crappy grammar?

          So, you keep playing hall monitor, taking me on every time you get the chance and thinking it somehow earns you some cedibility. I'll continue to write what I want to write and how I want to write it.

          • I think the problem is that too many people see disagreement or debate as some sort of personal insult.

            I got tired years ago of explaining that it does not follow, simply from arguing with someone, that I dislike them, and I assume you feel much the same way often.

        • GSC

          Because he's one of the major contributors on this site, he has the right to disagree with Willis.

          I wouldn't call it malice, I would call it keeping him honest and showing that while the new math/statistical analysis is in-vogue, it's not the only form of analysis out there.

          There is room for both. I happen to enjoy the banter between writers, it makes for good reading and gives everyone the widest range of opinions possible.

          • Hemmertime

            Its not banter, JW obviously has a lot of respect for RB (or at least respects the fact hes a writer here) so doesn't say what he should. Also, RB Rages on basically everyone here so its not isolated "teasing". Not like the Jeanshorts stuff. Problem is RB wasnt bad when he started here, but now that hes been exposed to what 95% of internet comment forums include he has soaked it in like a sponge and turned into the dreaded flaming arse.

          • GSC

            Sounds like you'd rather have this place resemble something like the Lowetide blog…

            Can't always get what you want. And you know what? Maybe RB has a reason to get pissed, and after reading some of the comments that are posted here, it's hard to blame him.

            Furthermore, I think he detects a pattern of behaviour in terms of opinion and analysis that seemingly no one questions. He was an Oiler beat writer for a reason, ya know.

      • I think the writer isn't in the know as much as he thinks he is. Willis has an agenda, and good for him for sticking to his game plan.

        We're talking about the same writer who wants to trade Brule because he is playing good, producing on the top line, and is due for a contract at the end of the year. The last thing Willis wants in Edmonton is a good player.

        I digress. Until hockey becomes baseball I know to take Willis with a grain of salt. Opinion is one thing, incomplete statistics and incomplete back story is another.

    • Victoria

      That's valid, but he certainly could've proven he's a dud up to this point, especially behind the Oilers.

      As for trading Khabibulin. I doubt anyone would be desperate enough to pick up his contract. The Oilers shot themselves in the foot with that one.

  • Paq Twinn

    I still believe the Oilers should do everything they can to trade Khabbi when he returns. I can't really blame Tambo for going out and getting a goalie, but with hindsight being 20/20, we didn't need one. If we can move him at the deadline to a contending team like Detroit(if they can contend this year) or Philly then really, they get a proven playoff winner for the next 3 years. It doesn't matter what we get back, although with the cap we would have to take back some salary too.

    • Hemmertime

      Way to early to trade our goalie, first, 4 year contract is going to make our return negligible if we could even move him (we can't). And if we could, we shouldn't… now that we are in the playoff picture who would you rather rely on? Doesn't matter how well JDD does now Khabby is still the proven goalie, and the one I would want backstopping us in the playoffs or during the stretch.

      • Paq Twinn

        If we were a legitamate cup contender then ya, absolutely. I don't think that sacreficing the future for 2 home playoff games is wise. JDD and DD seem to be pretty good, though they lack experience. The best way for them to develope is to play up here. I know trading Khabbi will be next to impossible, but if we can find a suitor then thats what I would do, that's all. As good as the Oilers have played of late, I'm not convinced we're playoff bound. I still want a top 10 pick if not a chance at Hall/Seguin.

  • Corsby31

    Why are we not looking at the option of keeping JDD and Dubnyk, and letting go of Khabby? I'm well aware that we can't make that trade just yet but what about at the deadline? We really need to drop this contract and I'm sure there will be a team that needs him for a playoff run. Not only that I'm sure we could pick up a decent prospect in return, kills 2 birds with one stone does it not? Maybe I'm a bit ahead of myself here but we have had these 2 in our system for a long, long time, why not take the chance???


  • @ Hemmertime:

    I have a friend, a former defenceman who stuck around a few camps with the New York Rangers back in the day and who later went on to work for HNIC, and he had season tickets during Dubnyk's time in Kamloops.

    Swears by the kid.

  • Hemmertime

    I always thought Dubnyk would be our future starter (or at least has a better chance) over JDD. He's HUGE, Oilers site lists at 6'6 but I think thats a little high. Even 6'4 to 6'5 is massive though. His numbers in Springfield have been decent on horrible teams and he was consistent in the WHL. Will be interesting to see which gets sent out the door due to Khabby's 4 year.