GDB 62.0: Can the Oilers find a Dubnyk?

Can Craig MacTavish find a “Dubnyk in the rough” like Cliff Fletcher did for the Minnesota Wild? The Wild was 18-19-5 before Fletcher acquired Dubnyk, and they are 13-2-2 since the 14th overall pick in 2004 joined his fifth NHL organization in less than a calender year.

The Oilers need more than just a goalie standing on his head to turn the team around next season, but Dubnyk has shown how important having confidence in your goalie is to a team’s success. Minnesota was sound defensively before Dubnyk arrived, they allowed the fewest shots per game, but their GAA was 24th. Dubnyk arrived, played solid and the Wild have taken off.

MacTavish’s main priority during the off-season will be acquiring a goalie.

Minnesota was in 12th place in the west with 41 points on January 14th, but today they sit 7th with 69 points and are only two points behind Winnipeg for fourth in the Central and 5th in the western conference. It has been an incredible turnaround in 40 days.

The Oilers have many holes to fill this summer, and I don’t expect one goalie to whisk the Oilers from 14th in the west to a playoff spot, but it must be a bit painful for MacTavish and the Oilers to watch Dubnyk doing it.

Dubnyk spoke to Wild beat reporter Mike Russo about his re-birth with the Wild. It was a very good article. Dubnyk was very open and honest like he always was when he was in Edmonton. You can read the entire interview here.

Dubnyk said this about his time in Edmonton.

“I can’t put my finger on why it just snowballed. It wasn’t good for anybody,” Dubnyk said.
“I’m more disappointed
the way the summer had gone coming into the season. I felt like they
were trying to move on from me even though I felt I was steadily playing
“It was just
disappointing to spend 10 years with an organization, buy a home there,
have our first kid there and plan to be there a long time. But you know
what? I forgot to stop the puck.
“I guess you can say I’m happy I ungracefully exited Edmonton to make my way here.”

I’ve spoke to many former and current players, and all of them said it would have been hard hearing your GM saying publicly that he was unsure of your ability. They also said, as Dubnyk admitted, that it is still on the player to perform, but if you feel your team doesn’t believe in you that is hard to overcome.

Dubnyk had to learn a lot about himself. He almost lost his NHL career, but he bounced back. MacTavish has yet to find a better replacement for Dubnyk, and I believe his tenure as GM will hinge on his ability to find a solid goalie the team can rely on for 50 solid starts.


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Nail Yakupov tweaked his groin vs. Anaheim and according to Todd Nelson they are being cautious and resting him tonight. Without Hall and Yakupov the Oilers have one proven top-six winger, and Benoit Pouliot who they hope emerges as one.

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Jeff Petry draws back in after missing two games with bruised ribs. Jordan Oesterle will take a seat in the pressbox. 

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  • The Oilers have to dress Petry. You must have self-respect as an organization and show the players you will dress you best lineup. Petry has missed fewer than eight games in his career due to injury, and worrying about an injury is simply worrying too much. Teams likely want to see that he is healthy and available, so dressing him makes sense on many fronts, most notably the need to ice your best lineup.
  • Nick Leddy will be 24 years old when his new seven-year extension worth $5.5 mill/year with the Islanders begins next season. It is a bit of an overpay today (cap hit), but if you look at how his contract is set up — $4million, $4.5 mill, $5 mill, $5.5 mill, $6 mill, $6.5 million and $7 million in the final year — the Islanders are expecting him to keep developing and as he improves and gains experience his actual salary increases. Leddy statistics are solid and so are his analytics. He should only get better.
  • Interesting trade between the Ducks and Habs. Montreal sends Jiri Sekac to the Ducks for Devante Smith-Pelley. Sekac has more natural skill, while Smith-Pelley brings a more physical presence and playoff experience. He had five goals in 12 playoff games for the Ducks last season. I’ll give the Habs a slight edge today, but I think Sekac could get a shot beside Getzlaf and Perry at some point. He has very good hockey sense and I think he becomes more of a point producer than Smith-Pelley.



GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hard to pick against the sizzling Wild. Dubnyk has owned the Oilers this year. He is 5-0 with a sparkling .970 SV% and a 0.80 GAA. Wild win 3-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Minnesota has only allowed one PP goal in the last 13 games. They’ve killed off 32 of the last 33 powerplays and the Oilers don’t score on the PP tonight.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers manage only 20 shots on Dubnyk, but he stops a breakaway in the middle period. 

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  • Tikkanese

    I have a hard time feeling sorry for duby and his lame whine about not feeling respected falls flat for me.
    If you want respect you show it by playing great or at least average but he could not even do average in the first 20 games, they gave him every chance to turn it around and he was crap. So if he is doing well now good for him but one year does not make him a superstar …but saying that I guess one bad year doesnt make you a bust either.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    When did Mac came out and said the infamous “if you have to ask the question” comment? Was it before or after he brought in labarbera for the back up?

    It’s cool if Mac didnt have faith in Dubby, but he brought in Scrivens and Fasth for replacements. What have those two guys ever done to make him believe they would be an upgrade?

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    I was sad when Dubby got traded. Bad management, head coaching, goalie coaching and the swarm cost us average level goalie. Now we got two inferior backup goaltenders. Reminds me when we had Shanlenkov or whatever that guy was called.

    Good on Dubby to get payback in spades. Loosing to the Wild hurts less knowing Dubby is sticking it to LowMac. I know he bleeds copper and blue, all the best. Miss those safety commercials.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    Back to Back great articles showing what a great GM MacT is. Sigh. And yet his supporters remain although they are a minority. I think maybe the reason is they look at the good moves he makes and for some reason forget all the poor ones. Problem being you need a GM to make 80% of his moves great to have any chance in this league. Too many other sharp GM’s to get away with less of a winning percentage in the GM’ing game. I think his tenure should be labled “2 steps forward, 2 steps back”. And ven thats debateable. Full disclosure I thought he was going to make a great GM. I was wrong.

  • TheBirdOfAnger

    You would think if the oilers locker room is not confident in their abilities or facing adversity they would at least try to play pissed off. Finish your checks and hit HARD. I would want to plow guys into the ground if I knew there was a slim chance of victory. Just play pissed off!

  • Sorensenator

    The Oilers need defense more then any other position. Look at what Dubnyk can do with a real NHL defence in front of him.

    The Oilers will picking bottom 5 year after year if Mac T thinks Klefbom and Schultz, Nikitin and Fayne, are solid top two pairings moving forward.

  • Kevwan

    Good game Oilers. Exceptional game Scrivens.

    IMO the biggest mistake with Dubnyk was not signing another quality goalie in the summer of ’13. Labarbera was at best a backup and signed for more money than other UFA’s like Greiss and Khudobin. As soon as Dubnyk started to struggle their was no other real option.

  • bwille

    I wasn’t sad to see Dubnyk get traded. He was letting in too many softies.

    Now I’m just an old guy that watches the odd game.

    I would think these professional coaches and scouts whose jobs include assessing talent would have been better at assessing his potential – especially considering his past and his trending.

  • bwille

    I was always flabbergasted by the people who wanted to run Dubnyk out of town after half a bad year. The guy in 5 years as a starter has 4 seasons over 914 and 2 of those seasons over 920. Shame on MacT for being blinded by ONE bad year last year and forgetting about the previous 3 where he was 914+ on the worst team in the entire NHL. People are all up in arms about MacT not signing Petry, but I think trading Dubnyk was a far worse crime.

  • Rdubb

    I have heard that Devon didn’t want to listen to the goalie coaches and such once he got anointed the starting goalie job in Edmonton, unsure if this is true or not, if it is, that is 100% on Devon. And i think that was the reason for MacT’s comments that final summer..
    Does everyone not remember what Trotz said about Dubynk when he went to NAS? Didn’t go something like; he is full of holes, has a terrible style, and isn’t an NHL quality goalie.
    And then he couldn’t even be the back-up in Montreal, he lost out to AHL tender…
    It wasn’t until Devon started listening to coaches and such that his career turned around, and that too is totally on Devon. I can almost guarantee you that he won’t get to big for his hockey pants again now will he?
    Had Devon listened and continued to work hard while being Edm’s #1, I am sure he’d have a $4.5-$5.5M contract right now instead of the fraction that he is playing for right now…
    How Devon is playing now is how he played in Edmonton, except for last season that is.
    Sometimes tender just loses confidence, look @ Mike Smith and no further than Backstrom in MIN…