Tonight Devan Dubnyk (probably–he’s listed as one of the two G’s for tonight, one imagines he’ll get some time in goal) gets the first opportunity of pre-season to show Edmonton’s management and coaching staff that he is the better man to back up Super Bowl Sunday this winter. IS he the better man? COULD the Oilers go with 3 G’s (again)?
The Oilers do not have a clear cut #1 goalie of the future in the organization. If we can agree that Nikolai Khabibulin is clearly the #1 option when healthy, then the big decision this fall has to do with which young G to keep and which one to send away.
DEVAN’S UP ARROWS
- In his final 10 games Dubnyk’s SP was .912 overall.
- He is 2 years younger than JDD.
- The Falcons were a struggling AHL team with a puncher’s chance every night DD dressed; the bottom fell out when he was called to the show.
- From all accounts DD is a better technical goalie than his competition. He’s no Doug Favell–and that’s a good thing.
- There’s a new head coach in town. Last year’s depth chart is not written in stone.
- His contract ($800,000 times 2) is reasonable, and his competition is 9 months from free agency.
DEVAN’S DOWN ARROWS
- His boxcars last season were poor, the worst of the rookie goaltenders who played 1,000 or more minutes in 09-10.
- His overall EV SP (.902) was less than JDD’s (.905).
- JDD has a full year in the NHL. If NK is injured, Deslauriers knows the ropes and can step in to the starter’s role.
- Last year, when the organization had to choose a starter, they went with Deslauriers.
There were 6 rookie goalies who played over 1,000 minutes in the NHL 09-10. They were: Rask (Bos) .931; Howard (Det) .924; Varlamov (Was) .909; Gustafsson (Tor) .902; Deslauriers (Edm) .901 and Dubnyk (Edm) .889. JDD played in front of a poor team but you’d be hard pressed to include him among the league’s top rookies at the position. Deslauriers had some outstanding games (3 SO’s tied him with Howard for 2nd among first year G’s) but there were some poor moments.
Khabibulin’s EV SP (.924) was good last year; the kids trailed by a mile. Tonight’s lineups suggest a real test for Oilers goalies. It might be just what the doctor ordered for Devan Dubnyk. A tough test well handled will have a major impact on what is shaping up as a pretty even race.