The Oilers grabbed a road win in Sunrise on Tuesday, and there are signs things may get better. Taylor Hall is close to returning, the defensive depth (Larsen, Fedun) has been as advertised and the Nuge is beginnng to push the river again. One key item that remains unsolved: the goaltending. This has been Devan Dubnyk’s job all along, now it’s time for him to deliver.
We’ve talked about stats and established Dubnyk was an average to slightly above average G entering this season. We’ve talked about smaller goalie pads impacting him, shorter sticks impacting his balance and his ‘relaxed’ attitude when things were not quite right in pre-season.
That’s all history. What’s real is the here and now, and for Dubnyk (coming off a short term injury) this is the time. The Oilers need him, need to believe in him, need him to not only make the stops he should but to rob another team of a victory on the road.
EVEN STRENGTH SAVE PERCENTAGE, LAST THREE YEARS
- 2010-11: .921
- 2011-12: .927
- 2012-13: .922
- 2013-14: .876
These numbers reflect a few things: bad start, small sample size, et cetera. When a goalie has a dip like that, we can look for the usual reasons (age, injury) and those do not apply to Dubnyk. The equipment change could be a factor, but all goalies have had to adjust and this season the Save Percentages have improved across the league.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Based on what we read, Devan Dubnyk is a popular guy in the dressing room and players (previous to this season) believed in him. We don’t know how long the team will stay with him if these performances continue,but we do know who can impact the decision.
Devan Dubnyk. Starting tonight.