I’ve got to admit I smiled when Devan Dubnyk was voted the 2015 recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, annually awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

Anybody who survives tending goal for 171 games over parts of five seasons behind the atrocious blue line group the Edmonton Oilers put on the ice during Dubnyk’s tenure, 2009-10 to 2013-14, is likely as deserving a winner as you’re going to find. I always thought it was too bad – for the Oilers, not necessarily for Dubnyk – he had to leave Edmonton to get it.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Devan Dubnyk

Goalie — shoots R

Born May 4 1986 — Regina, SASK 

Height 6.06 — Weight 210 [198 cm/95 kg]

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Drafted by Edmonton Oilers

Round 1 #14 overall 2004 NHL Entry Draft


Season Team Lge GP A PIM Min GA EN SO GAA W L T Svs Pct
2009-10 Edmonton Oilers NHL 19 0 0 1075 64 1 0 3.57 4 10 2 515 0.889
2010-11 Edmonton Oilers NHL 35 0 2 2061 93 4 2 2.71 12 13 8 1010 0.916
2011-12 Edmonton Oilers NHL 47 1 0 2653 118 6 2 2.67 20 20 3 1262 0.914
2012-13 Edmonton Oilers NHL 38 0 0 2101 90 0 2 2.57 14 16 6 1043 0.921
2013-14 Edmonton Oilers NHL 32 0 6 1678 94 0 2 3.36 11 17 2 791 0.894
2013-14 Nashville Predators NHL 2 0 0 124 9 0 0 4.35 0 1 1 51 0.850
2013-14 Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 8 0 0 415 23 1 0 3.33 2 5 0 191 0.893
2014-15 Arizona Coyotes NHL 19 0 0 1035 47 0 1 2.72 9 5 2 514 0.916
2014-15 Minnesota Wild NHL 39 2 2 2293 68 0 5 1.78 27 9 2 996 0.936
2015-16 Minnesota Wild NHL 67 0 8 3839 150 0 5 2.33 32 26 4 1679 0.918
2015-16p Minnesota Wild NHL 4 0 0 236 11 0 0 2.80 1 3 0 87 0.888


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Dubnyk, selected 14th overall by Edmonton in the 2004 Entry Draft, spent the better part of a decade building toward establishing himself as the go-to guy in the goal crease for the Oilers. He did so behind a blue line group that never was very deep or very good. Of course, the same could be said of the entire roster during his time here.

After overcoming clutter in the crease along the way that included Jeff Deslauriers and Nikolai Khabibulin, Dubnyk won the starting job for 2012-13 and put up the best numbers of his career. He won 14 games – the Oilers won just 19 times that season under Ralph Krueger — and had a .920 save percentage. It seemed, despite a penchant for giving up soft goals, Dubnyk had finally arrived and that he’d be the answer between the pipes.

It wasn’t to be. Things went sideways in a hurry for Dubnyk in 2013-14 under new coach Dallas Eakins. In a season that would eventually see the Oilers spin six different stoppers through the crease, Dubnyk struggled mightily. The blue line wasn’t good enough. He wasn’t good enough. By the time the Oilers dealt Dubnyk to Nashville for Matt Hendricks, Dubnyk’s confidence and save percentage (.894) had taken a beating.


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Dubnyk’s struggles followed him to Nashville. He played in just two games for the Predators – he allowed nine goals on 60 shots — before being shipped to Milwaukee of the AHL with coach Barry Trotz’s comments about “bad habits” still ringing in his ears. Days later, Dubnyk was traded to Montreal and assigned to Hamilton of the AHL. In less than half a season, Dubnyk had played himself right out of the NHL.

Dubnyk’s rise from the ashes began when he signed a one-year deal as a UFA with Arizona for 2014-15. Dealt to Minnesota early that season, Dubnyk’s career turned on a dime again. He made 38 straight starts and backstopped the Wild to the playoffs. All told, Dubnyk was 27–9–2 with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage with five shutouts with the Wild that season. It earned him the Masterton, not to mention a six-year contract worth $26 million.

That’s a turnaround that could’ve and maybe should’ve happened here, but with as much failure as the Oilers have endured, letting Dubnyk get away isn’t the worst mistake that’s been made. Dubnyk paid his dues and played very well as a member of the Oilers for long stretches, but it’s that miserable final half-season that chased him out of town.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

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


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

  • Oil City Roller

    There was nothing better than watching Dubby in his first year in Minnesota, play the Oilers and absolutely smash them. He treated MacT like a dog that pooped on the carpet. Dubby beat him with a newspaper then rubbed MacT’s face in the poop. Glorious!

    • Poke Check

      Don’t forget that came after he led the Coyotes to a season sweep over the Oilers in Arizona. I think he wound up going 5-0 against us that year across teams.

  • Oilerchild77

    Well, from what I saw, Dubnyk never showed any real dedication to improvement while playing here. I’m glad for him that he finally figured it out and got it together, but the way he played was absolutely deserving of being traded away.

    And for the record, even before MacT’s infamous comment, Dubnyk never played the type of game that suggested he was starter material.

  • Boom or Bust

    Dubnyk was giving his chance…but he choked…hard. Yes the D was crap but we all know he let in some real stinkers. Ones that were on highlight reels for the year…maybe even for all time!! I’m glad he found redemption. He’s a good guy. Saying that we got Hendricks…and I freakin love that guy!! I still think we won that trade.

  • BornInAGretzkyJersey

    I’ll never forget his first game, he got thrown into fire. Got lit up for 5 or 6 goals behind an atrocious defense. His second game wasn’t much better, but “The Big Easy” shrugged it off and improved steadily.

    I wish it would have worked out for him here; but I do like to see him living up to his potential.

  • Oilerproud

    Masterton trophy is turning into an absolute joke. I understand that Dubie came back from an AHL team to win a job in Minny(Perseverance). I know he’s about as classy as they come(sportsmanship). I know he didn’t stop playing when Edm refused to put an NHL defense in front of him(dedication to hockey).

    Let’s take a closer look at this award and how it seems to be goalies consolation prize for playing full seasons on subpar teams. This trend is becoming increasingly familiar this season with the Reimer nomination.

    What happened to guys winning after beating cancer and putting up 30 goals. Don’t forget about the guys who play down the stretch with punctured lungs and busted legs. Even older guys who defy the odds and play impact roles into their 40s.

    As much as I like Dubie it didn’t make sense to see him awarded this once prestigious honour. Firstly he is a first rounder and he was only on his 3rd chance (1st rounders have 9 lives). No surprise he found work. He’s a good a sport as anyone (pretty common for 99% of the league). Lastly his dedication to hockey looks eerily similar to anyone’s dedication to cashing six figure checks.

    I know each team submits a candidate and I’m not sure how the selection process takes place(thinking writer’s vote). One thing I’m sure of is the Bill Masterton trophy once meant something and now I’m not sure. Love Dubie BTW.

    • Yes, let’s take a closer look at this award . . .

      First, goaltenders have won the Masterton three times in the last 15 years (just five times since 1967-68), so it’s not exactly been dominated by the guys in the crease.

      Dubnyk 2014-15: Off the scrap heap to make a franchise-record 38 straight starts. Posted a 27-9-2 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage to backstop Minnesota to the playoffs when they were dead in the water before his arrival.

      Josh Harding 2012-13: Returned to the Minnesota Wild after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Shutout in his first game back. Missed 33 games after that and then came back to play five playoff games despite the debilitating effects of MS.

      Jose Theodore 2009-10: Had his best season in almost a decade after returning from the death of his son from complications after a premature birth.

      So, this group of winners is turning the Masterton into “an absolute joke?” How so?

      • Oilerproud

        A first round pick with an established NHL acumen gets traded a few times after a tough season. He goes for a conditioning stint or two and regains his form under one of the stingiest defensive systems. Not to mention playing behind Ryan Suter for thirty minutes a night.

        This to me is not even close to Harding battling M.S. while competing or Lemieux beating Hodgkin’s lymphoma and winning the Art Ross. I have nothing against Dubie but the Masterton trophy is not for players that realize their potential.

        Your Harding(Ms) and Theodore(lost a child) references speak to my point considerably. What Dubie did is impressive but if that’s all it takes he should’ve won it when he put up a. 920sv % on our tire fire Oilers.

        I respect your opinion Robin but it would seem to me that this award is losing some of it’s integrity. If you don’t agree look at the heroes who have won this thing and what they endured in comparison.

        • Ed in Edmonton 1

          I agree that there is a fundamental difference between a player coming back from a bad year and a player coming back from a life crisis. Maybe there was no player that had a life crisis when Dubnyk won the award.

      • Kurt

        “Chicago Blackhawks – Scott Darling

        One of the great stories of the 2014-15 season. The Blackhawks are Darling’s 12th team in the last five seasons. He’s played in the SPHL, ECHL, AHL and now NHL, all while going sober in 2011. “

        Just an example of a better “comeback player” for 2015.

        If you were voting this year I see you taking:
        St. Louis Blues: Brian Elliott

        “He joined the Blues in 2011 after not being qualified by the Colorado Avalanche, agreeing to a two-way contract worth $600,000. In the last five seasons, Elliott has established himself as a legitimate No. 1 goalie, compiling a record of 100-45-16, including a franchise record 24 shutouts. Despite his success, Elliott has been overlooked for the Blues’ starting goalie assignment in the playoffs, taking a backseat to Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Miller and Jake Allen.”

  • OilCan2

    Dubs is first class in my book.

    Methinks it could bode well to use ALL of our draft picks this year. Even the the fifth rounders we get for Korpse and Letestu.

  • Jehu23

    @Robin Brownlee

    There has been talk (from message board posters) of this series turning into a coffee table book (I’ll pre-order btw) – my question is: what about anyone that might sneak into the top 100 before publication date (*cough* McD *cough*)?

    This is likely a horse/cart question, but has there been thoughts of something like creating a “27 (i)/83 (a)” kind of addendum to the list?

    Thanks for the fun series.

  • Big Cap

    Hey RB,

    Love the Top 100 Series, and the time and effort you show for each player while doing your list. I know each player ranking is always about banter & debate, so here’s my take, and two cents…

    I personally cant see how Dubey sits ahead of both Laraque or Staios?? Big George was the top of his field in the entire NHL for years as an Oiler, as well as providing many other positive attributes to the team. He also could/should be considered a Top 10 NHL Heavyweight of all time.

    As for Steady Steve, would he not be considered a Oilers standout as a defensive defenseman? IMO, he’s top 10 guy for that defensive category, right up there with Lowe, Huddy, Gregg and Smith. Include his leadership, toughness,and commitment to the team, surely he has had a much bigger impact as an Oiler than Dubey??

    Its all in good fun, and I look forward to your thoughts and anyone else who wants to chime in.

    Go Oilers!

    • You’re talking the difference between 70, 71 and 73 on a list of 100 players with Dubnyk, Laraque and Staios. Let’s not cut things too fine.

      Read what I wrote about Staios. I’ve got all the respect in the world for him. You can’t mention Steve with Huddy, Lowe and Greg because they won multiple Cups with the Oilers, and that factors in. That’s not Steve’s fault, but it sways where he fits just as it has and will with other players.

  • Anton CP

    Geez,what is with all the hate on Dubby? He was one of the better goalie that the Oilers had recently. He struggled for one year after his GM denounce him publicly and somehow it is his fault. Look at Tim Thomas who struggled during 09-10 and if Bruins dumped him then they would missed one of the best performance of his career on following year and winning the Stanley Cup with him as Conn Smythe winner.

    • Smuckers

      Not saying the hate is justified but he did let in a LOT of back breaking softies during his last year. You could see on their faces that he lost the confidence of his team.

      Despite the tire fire that the Dallas Eakins’ defensive(?) system was, there were many goals that should not have gone in that season.

  • O.C.

    Sorry, I have to bring the other side’s opinion.

    Save percentages mean nothing if you let in inopportune, bad goals.

    Big saves motivate. Think opposite.

    I’ve personally watched Team Oil slump when that one bad goal was let in. I’ve also seen time and again how that sucks wind on the bench, as a coach.

    The third goal in game 6 today against Dallas is déjà vu all over again.

    Nice guy. Can get hot and be a fortress.


    • You’re actually not bringing “the other side’s opinion” because the crux of your comment has already been factored in, thus the reference to the penchant for giving up soft goals in the item.

      If save percentage was everything, the guy with the best percentage in franchise history, Dubnyk, wouldn’t have six goaltenders ahead of him on this list. All goals are not created equal and Dubnyk’s habit of allowing bad goals and killing momentum/deflating his team has been pretty well documented.

  • O.C.

    Goal 5. This is a nightmare. Twitter was already complaining about the Wild having to pay DD after the 4th goal.

    It is awful now.

    Wild have come back to make it 5 to 4. If Minny loses this game..

  • O.C.

    Point taken RB.

    I get unnerved when people suggest “he got away”.

    I have to say, we only have 6 on the list who were better?

    Low, Salo, Joseph, Moog, Fuhr, Markonen, Khabibulin, Ranford and Roloson were all better…

    • ubermiguel

      Are you referring to Jamie Benn’s perfect shot? Can’t fault Dubnyk on that one. The weird bounce goals was just that: a weird bounce. I am not a huge Dubnyk fan ever since I went to one game and he let in 3 goals from below the face off circle, nearly by the red line, he could not cover a post to save his life. But those goals you mention feel like confirmation bias. I was happy to hear thousands of Wild fans were cheering “Duuuuube” after some nice saves. Good for the kid, he got his game back.

    • Ron Low? Not a chance. Helluva good man. Look at his numbers in Edmonton.

      Markkanen? Terrific guy who was thrown in during the 2006 playoffs when Roloson went down, but his numbers just aren’t there.

      Khabibulin? Not even on my list.