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.
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.
Jeff Petry draws back in after missing two games with bruised ribs. Jordan Oesterle will take a seat in the pressbox.
- 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.
Recently by Jason Gregor:
- Monday Musings
- GDB 60.0: MacTavish on Petry, Klinkhammer and Roy
- West race: Who you got?
- Jetting Back to the West
- GDB 56.0: Mr. Price is Right
- Don’t rest Taylor Hall