With the two-year deal the Edmonton Oilers just gave him, Devan Dubnyk could walk away from hockey in the summer of 2014 and never play another NHL game and he’d have more money in his jeans than you or I will make in a lifetime.

Having bumped Dubnyk’s salary from $800,000 a season to $3.5 million a year through 2013-14, that’s not the plan, of course. Money talks, and the Oilers have given a clear indication they don’t expect the six-foot-five puck stopper to be going anywhere anytime soon. That will play out in the next 24 months.

Simply put, the contract tendered Dubnyk is extremely generous, and then some. Plain and simple, it’s an overpay to a restricted free agent who has yet to establish himself as a bonafide No. 1 goaltender. I’m not saying Dubnyk can’t or won’t do so, because the former Kamloops Blazers is clearly a better option than the fading Nikolai Khabibulin. I’m simply saying he hasn’t done it yet.

Whether the contract is a touch rich or not, the price point GM Steve Tambellini and the front office pegged Dubnyk at sends a message to him and the team in front of him – the Oilers are confident he can and will be the go-to guy in the blue paint moving forward.

That vote of confidence hasn’t been lost on the 26-year-old Dubnyk, who went 20-23-3 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .914 saves percentage in 47 games (42 starts) last season. In 101 NHL games with the Oilers, Dubnyk is 36-43-13 with a 2.85 GAA and .910 saves percentage.


"It’s a huge boost of confidence," said Dubnyk, who has gone from making really good money and being single to making really great money and being married in the last couple of weeks. "It’s very important to get that faith and that backing from the team. They certainly showed that. It’s just exciting going forward."

My first inclination is that faith in Dubnyk is well-founded and that the message sent is justified. That guarantees nothing, of course, but I don’t see the commitment by the Oilers as a shot in the dark, even if it’s $1 million or so more a season than I’d have put on the table. It’s not my money.

Given the statement the contract makes, Dubnyk will be the clear-cut No. 1 guy ahead of Khabibulin and that will likely translate to 55-60 games this coming season playing behind a team that should be markedly better than he’s stood in for since breaking into the line-up in 2009-10.

Dubnyk has the ball, and the money, now. I’d be willing to bet he runs with it rather than walking anywhere two years from now. My guess is Dubnyk will turn into that bonafide No. 1 stopper. How will he stack up in the big NHL picture? I don’t know. That, as is always the case, is up to him.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • paul wodehouse

    Good on ya Dubbie . The GM has shown his faith and know you have the ball eh puck . Just stop it . Your going to have a better “D” than last year so you need more wins than losses . This should be your year .

  • paul wodehouse

    I have to respectfully disagree with this article. Doobie is a starting goalie in the NHL this year, no? So what is the average wage for a starting goalie with a >910 save percentage?
    Oh, he’s RFA, right. Because RFA’s never make big bucks in this league. Ive never seen that before…
    Carey Price? Schneider? Niemi, Rask,
    What about little Sam Gagner, should they get him for 1.5M this year? I doubt it, RFA.

  • vetinari

    @pelhem grenville

    what would you have offered Josh Harding and for how long? same with Tukka Rask, and Halak (whom had a good playoffs).

    he’s not a backup. just because he wasn’t techinically #1 last year doesn’t mean he wasn’t #1.

    he is the starter this year and this is what starters, in this market, get paid.

    • Rocknrolla

      Rask and Halak are better, more proven goaltenders and they make the same money. Take a look at goalies with similar cap hits and tell me which ones Dubnyk is better than. There is a whole list of guys I would rather have.

  • vetinari

    I think something smells funny……..they must be getting rid of Khabibulin, maybe a trade to some desperate hockey team that needs to hit the salary floor.

  • DieHard

    10% of cap on your goalie tandem is right in line. That is where the Oilers are right now and it goes down next year when the Bulin Wall is gone. This money will not affect the F and D signing … This is G money. This is also building team confidence. I like this deal at 2 years.

  • paul wodehouse

    Josh Harding IS getting a “reasonable” amount of money …onepointnine cap hit for three years

    Rask is being forced into starterdom with Timmy flaking off..crikey mayor Halak bloody near won a Stanley Cup BY HIMSELF soonago!!!

    if I go with your take I say …

    the wannabe starters market sucks!!!

  • misfit

    I made this point elsewhere already, but I don’t really think it matters all that much if he’s overpaid or not.

    If he proves himself to be a bonafide #1 goalie at the end of the deal, then not only will he be worth the money, but he’ll get an extension (or sign elsewhere as a UFA) at market value no matter what.

    If he still hasn’t established himself as a starter over the next two years, then I don’t see the Oilers bringing him back whether they were paying him $1M or $6M anually.

    So the way I see it, this deal only really impacts the next 2 years. Two years where we’ll be well under the cap in the first one, and the $3.75M backup will be off the books in the 2nd.

    • Chaz

      Beg to differ, if Dubby does play really well over the next two seasons he will be demanding that much more of an increase over his current contract. So instead of paying him 2.5 mil now and 4.5-5 later its now, 3.5 now and 5.5+ later. This could actually make things harder when trying to keep all the young stars in a couple years.

  • Chaz

    For a goalie who let in a bad goal almost every game he played in last year this is way too much money. Doesn’t leave me feeling confident that Tambo et al will be able to get maximum value for their contracts, and while this isn’t a huge issue now, it will be as our young studs move past their entry-level contracts. It’s all good though, my bet is that Tambo will be long gone by that time anyways, and our new GM Wayne Gretzky will balance the ledgers!

  • ANDY

    Is it at all possible that Oiler management and the Dubnyk camp have a handshake agreement, that in the case that Dubnyk does turn out to be a legit #1 tender, he will already have been given an “advance” on any deserved salary increase? This would then ease the ability to sign our young guns that will then be up for huge raises.
    For the record, I do believe in Dubby, and I see him as the same mould as a Rinne, or Lindback. He has gotten better each year with his movements, and fundamentals.

  • ANDY

    @pelhem grenville

    Josh harding is making back up money.

    and just so i’m clear, Halak is worth it cause he “just” about won a cup all by himself and me thinking Dubnyk is worth it because of the last half season (potential)he had are different how?

    imo Dubnyk is going to prove the naysayers wrong.

    • DieHard

      I’m not so sure people are doubting Dubby can do it, I think its more about getting better value out of your contracts and how Tambo doesn’t seem to be able to do that at all. The only exception being the Smyth contract but if I’m being honest I didn’t really want them to sign him anyway.

  • ANDY

    How is he not a legit starter, His record was 20-20-3, putting him over 50%, plus he played 47 games, which means he only got pulled in four of them. If we need him to play 60 games, that’s only 13 more games he needs to play and 17 more he needs to play and finish. I think the fact he only has three overtime wins indicative that the team in front of him couldn’t close out games in overtime. Thus I don’t think it’s unrealistic that in 17 games, Dubnyk could pull out nine more wins.

    Whether or not the contract is an overpay is another matter worth debate I guess, but make no mistake, any goalie that’s above .500 playing on one of the worst teams in the league would suggest he is the guy for our team.

    • DieHard

      Hows your math man because that is exactly 50%. A starter should be significatly over 50% or else the team will have a losing record. Just to get into the playoffs a team usually needs 56% wins or better just to claim the 8th seed. If you starter is only getting 50% and your backup is worse, your not making the playoffs.

  • ANDY


    i’ve never been a feverish supporter of Dithers, by any means.

    i’m going to say it may be a slight overpayment but again we don’t know how the negotiations (or lack thereof) went.

    i do maintain that this is not so out reach in 70 million cap ceiling world for a starting goalie. regardless of last year someone has got faith in this kid and so do i.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Although, in retrospect, if this means Dubey has enough money that he never EVER has to do another “work safe” / power company commercial (Hey, look at the new guy!) it is money well spent.

  • Bandwagon jumper

    Don’t get me wrong, I like DD, but to pay him this kind of money is ridiculous. I’m afraid we’ll look at this contract over the next two years with the same disdain as Horc’s contract.

  • Copperblueandwhite

    Petry should get Dubnyk’s agent…I like Dubs but this is a bit rich…wonder what they’d pay if he could handle the puck better….hey Robin, in your travails have you heard anything about the “Nuclear Option” for the Coyotes? Puck Daddy had this article today:

    Seems the $200 million entrance fee is more attractive than the $60 million transfer fees!

  • Bandwagon jumper

    So a goalie who has a simIlar save percentage as flurry, which if memory serves me right is the number one starter for Pittsburg, makes around the same as some of the starters out there and significantly less than some of the other ( I.E. Carey price anybody) and yet his contract is too much?? Give your heads a shake guys!! Is it a little more than you or I would have given him? Perhaps, but then again I wouldn’t of given Smyth the ammount he was given due to the fact that he looked dead in the second half of the season. And talk into account that once Dubnyk was allowed to play with out having to worry about what would happen if he had a bad game ( even the best goalies have them occasionally) he proved that he could do what you ask a number one goalie, that being he made the saves he had to in order to give the team a chance to win. Just because the guy couldn’t get the goal to pull out the win shouldn’t reflect on DD. does dubbie. We’d more victories? Yes, but now that Edmonton has more offensive threats maybe the team will be able to score the needed next goal or win some of those games that are tied going into the third.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I’m sure someone mentioned this already but khabi is due for a monster season. It’s a contract year and in the past those have been his best. We might end up seeing a bit of a goalie controversy in 12-13.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans


    Can you guys build a poll database where people can ascribe their names to a position on controversial matters:

    eg) Trade Gagner or Don’t Trade Gagner

    eg) Dubnyk 3.5/yr Good Deal or Bad Deal

    eg) Hall vs. Seguin

    eg) Yakupov vs. Murray

    I would love to be able to force people to stand by their rants and own up to them later (even if later means 2 years later). Maybe we could use it to quiet down some of the donkeys that are always loud and always wrong.