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.