The Edmonton Oilers have drafted and developed just two impact goaltenders in their long history. Is Devan Dubnyk the third?
The Impact Guys
In 1980, the second NHL Entry Draft of their existence, the Edmonton Oilers picked their first goalie with the 132nd overall selection. Despite being a seventh round pick (and an overager), Andy Moog was a spectacular success for the Oilers. He played more than 700 regular season games, appeared in the all-star game four times, on five occasions had a top-10 NHL save percentage, and finished his career with three Stanley Cup rings. Only 22 goalies in history have played more games between the pipes at the NHL level.
A year later, the Oilers spent their eighth overall selection on Spruce Grove native Grant Fuhr. Fuhr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 after a career that saw him win four Stanley Cups as a starter (five in total), as well as the Vezina and Jennings trophies. He ranks ninth in both career games played and total wins, and his #31 was elevated to the rafters at Rexall Place in 2001.
It’s a long, long step drop to the Oilers’ next most successful homegrown goaltender. Jussi Markkanen, drafted as a 26-year old back in 2001, currently sits third among Oilers draftees with 128 games played in the NHL. With 101 games under his belt, Devan Dubnyk already sits fourth on the list.
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers has played 62 NHL games, picking up four with the Anaheim Ducks this season. He’s struggled for two full years now at the AHL level (really struggled – in 35 AHL games in 2010-11 he put up a 0.906 SV%; he managed a 0.881 SV% in 16 games with Syracuse this season) and at 28 may already have played more NHL games to date than he will over the rest of his career.
The highly likable Mike Morrison earned 25 of his 29 NHL games in 2005-06, when he was pressed into service after the “Conkkanen” duo imploded. If I remember correctly he got called up just in time for a team bag skate, and ended up losing his lunch as a result. His stats line the next season was truly remarkable: a 0.790 SV% in four games with Phoenix, a 0.732 SV% in two games with San Antonio (AHL) and a 0.790 SV% in four games with Phoenix (ECHL).
Darryl Reaugh (more famous as a colourman than an NHL’er) and Joaquin Gage are the only others on the list to play more than 20 games in the NHL.
There’s very little doubt that Dubnyk will eclipse Jussi Markkanen’s NHL games played totals this year, and if he has a good season it should lock him in as the Oilers presumptive starter for the next few years. It’s still a long gap between “NHL starter” and Fuhr/Moog country, but Dubnyk’s just turned 26 and has time.
Behind him in the system, the potential is there for a couple of others to buck the Oilers’ woeful history in net. 2009 draft pick Olivier Roy had an excellent rookie season as a professional and should get time in the AHL next year; highly-touted 2010 pick Tyler Bunz will likely take his place in the ECHL.