33
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 Who Got Away: Devan Dubnyk (7)

From the time he was drafted in 2004, it took Devan Dubnyk the better part of eight years to establish himself, he thought, as the No. 1 goaltender with the Edmonton Oilers. It was a road to The Show that included finishing up his WHL career with the Kamloops Blazers, bouncing around the minor leagues with four different teams and then waiting his turn on the bench once he finally did get to Edmonton. Then, just like that, everything Dubnyk had worked for was gone in what felt like the blink of an eye.

Coming off a shortened 2012-13 season in which Dubnyk had played in 38 of the Oilers 48 games and posted a career-best .920 save-percentage with a team that won just 19 games, the wheels fell off. Coming into the 2013-14 season, Dubnyk was already rattled by news that new GM Craig MacTavish had tried to make a deal with the Vancouver Canucks for Cory Schneider that summer. Dubnyk struggled mightily in his first five games, allowing 22 goals, and never recovered. He was traded to Nashville in January, then, after just two games in Music City, on to Montreal for future considerations and buried in the minors.

Devan Dubnyk

Goalie — shoots L
Born May 4th, 1986 — Regina, SASK
Height 6.06 — Weight 218 [198 cm/99 kg]
Drafted by Edmonton Oilers
Round 1 #14 overall 2004 NHL Entry Draft

BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

GS

W

L

T/O

SV%

GAA

SO

MIN

2009-10

23

EDM

19

16

4

10

2

.889

3.57

0

1075

2010-11

24

EDM

35

33

12

13

8

.916

2.71

2

2061

2011-12

25

EDM

47

42

20

20

3

.914

2.67

2

2653

2012-13

26

EDM

38

37

14

16

6

.920

2.57

2

2101

2013-14

27

TOT

34

31

11

18

3

.891

3.43

2

1802

2013-14

27

EDM

32

29

11

17

2

.894

3.36

2

1678

2013-14

27

NSH

2

2

0

1

1

.850

4.35

0

124

2014-15

28

TOT

58

55

36

14

4

.929

2.07

6

3328

2014-15

28

ARI

19

16

9

5

2

.916

2.72

1

1035

2014-15

28

MIN

39

39

27

9

2

.936

1.78

5

2293

2015-16

29

MIN

67

66

32

26

6

.918

2.33

5

3861

2016-17

30

MIN

65

63

40

19

5

.923

2.25

5

3758

2017-18

31

MIN

57

56

33

15

7

.917

2.57

4

3270

5 yrs EDM

171

157

61

76

21

.910

2.88

8

9568

4 yrs MIN

228

224

132

69

20

.922

2.27

19

13182

1 yr NSH

2

2

0

1

1

.850

4.35

0

124

1 yr ARI

19

16

9

5

2

.916

2.72

1

1035

Career

420

399

202

151

44

.916

2.54

28

23909

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GS

W

L

T/O

SV%

GAA

SO

MIN

2014-15

28

MIN

10

4

6

0

.908

2.53

1

570

2015-16

29

MIN

6

2

4

0

.877

3.34

0

359

2016-17

30

MIN

5

1

4

0

.925

1.86

1

322

Career

21

7

14

0

.903

2.59

2

1251

WITH THE OILERS

“I didn’t do myself any favours, I wasn’t exactly knocking any pucks down,” Dubnyk said. “I’ll never forget those first four-five games. I remember the days between games, I felt sick. We’d be on the road and I would go to a movie to try and just lose myself for two hours. As soon as the movie was over, I felt sick again. That was a really tough couple of weeks to start the season.” Schneider, of course, had ended up in New Jersey, but that didn’t save Dubnyk with the Oilers struggling yet again.

Despite jettisoning Ralph Krueger for Dallas Eakins during the off-season, the Oilers staggered to a 1-6-1 start. A lot of that was pinned on Dubnyk, and rightfully so. While Dubnyk rebounded somewhat from a miserable start, it didn’t matter. MacTavish sent him to Nashville for Matt Hendricks and went with a crease committee that included Ben Scrivens, Ilya Bryzgalov, Viktor Fasth, Jason LaBarbera and Richard Bachman – none of whom are pushing Dubnyk for Vezina votes these days.

DOWN THE ROAD

Dubnyk wasn’t even sure he’d have an NHL job for the 2014-15 season, but he ended up signing as a free agent with Arizona and dragged his career from the ashes with the help of goaltending coach Sean Burke. “He really started it all for me,” Dubnyk said. “Burkey just gives you confidence without saying anything. You know he thinks you’re good. And if you’re not doing something right, he’s going to tell you. He’s not going to beat around the bush. You know where you stand with him and you know he’s got your back.”

Dubnyk was 9-5-2 with a .916 GAA with the Coyotes when GM Don Maloney shipped him to the Minnesota Wild. In a storyline right out of Hollywood, Dubnyk would start 39 straight games for the Wild and backstop them to a playoff spot. He went from the scrap heap to signing a six-year contract worth $26 million that summer and he hasn’t looked back. Could Dubnyk have turned things around like he has had he been given more time in Edmonton? I don’t think so. What I do know is none of the 11 stoppers who have manned the crease since Dubnyk departed, including Cam Talbot, boast the kind of numbers Dubnyk has had in Minnesota. Alas, no do-overs.

This series of various Top 10 lists will focus on the post-1990 Oilers – the players who haven’t played on a Stanley Cup winner in Edmonton.

Previously in this Series:

      • btrain

        He wasn’t very good in 1 game. If you remove the last game in the series he had a .933 and was one of the only reason the Wild were even in the series at all.

          • btrain

            Completely agree, that is far from good enough in that game. However, to not at least acknowledge the anomalies influence on the total score, often results in a misleading figure. If McDavid hits the score sheet multiple times in 4 out of 5 games but fails to put up a point in a series ending loss, do we discredit his previous games and conclude he wasn’t very good in the series? I’d imagine the criticism would probably go more towards his teammates who couldn’t utilize his previous performances.

        • Gravis82

          Every goalie worth have games like that a certain small percentage of the time. The question is when is the last time Devan had one, and was it long enough ago to say that he was probably randomly due for another one?

  • camdog

    I’ve always been a Devan guy, even back in the days when Oiler fans were raving about Deslauriers and through that terrible Eakin run. Talbot plays the game much the same as DD, he’ll have a better year next year. First half he was bad, the second half of the season he was back to league average. In his bad games most other coaches would have started the back up goalie.

    When a bigger goalie loses their timing/net and starts going down too early it never ends well. It doesn’t help when your team defence is bottom 5 in the league. Our defence really started slow. An NHL quality back up that can play 25 games a year and spell off rough patches is needed today and was needed back then.

  • Pretty amazing that Dubnyk could start almost every game in the lockout-shortened season, post a .920 sv% and the Oilers could still miss the playoffs, and then after that performance, that they’d throw in the towel on Dubnyk after a terrible ten game stretch.

    That kind of management’s how you build a perennial loser, I guess.

    • fasteddy

      DD was shaky even when he played well. Never, ever felt like he had it licked. Glad he’s found his mojo, but never regretted him being moved. MacT absolutely nailed it…and for good reason. Pretending that wasn’t a very legitimate statement is to ignore what all of us were seeing in the two or three years leading up to it.

  • Rama Lama

    I think its fair to say the league is littered with x-Oiler players who we gave up on too early. I would say we suffer from “he can’t be any good if he is on our team”, syndrome.

    We need to value our players first, if we expect other teams to value our players in terms of trades. I’m still hurting over the Taylor Hall trade…….a top ten player in the league ( in other words a franchise player) should fetch more than a defensive defenceman…….no offence to Larsen.

    • gr8haluschak

      A top ten player in the league, man i would love to be able to drink at 1 pm like you must be. What is that based off of this year, give me a break top 10 player in the league. I also love the comment should have got more, really show us proof that he should have got more and actually even better tell me exactly what D man he should have got based off of players that were actually traded.

      • Gravis82

        Hall scores extremely well in the hardest position to score in…even strength vs top line opposition. That leaves the team the option of leaving a defensible liable pp specialist on the bench until needed

        • crabman

          @Gravis82,
          Hall does well in 5×5 but this year he had a career year not because of 5×5 scoring but because he had a monster year on the pp. He scored 40% of his 93 points on the pp. He also had over 3% better s% than his career average, that works out to an extra 8 goals.This will be his highest scoring year of his career and if healthy I fully expect him to be back to the 75-80pt range, less if he misses games, next year. Still very good but not a top 10 best players in the league. If healthy he may be too 10 scoring but doean’t win faceoff or shutdown the other teams best players. He doesn’t kill penalties. There are other players who score in his range that do more for there teams, over their career not just one monster year. And players that score a little less but do so much more.

          • Gravis82

            my goodness, Hall has always been this good. This year he was just a bit luckier than most.

            His underlying metrics are the same they always were. This is his ceiling, and players hit their ceiling only a few times in their career, if they did every year it wouldn’t be called a ceiling.

        • gr8haluschak

          Ha, you criticizing me for not watching hockey is gold: Mcdavid, Crosby, Malkin, Karlson, Doughty, Keith, Ovechkin, Kopitar, Tarasenko, Seguin, Stamkos, Hedman, Mackinnon, Tavares, and Bergeron are all better than Hall, and this list does not even include the players like Matthews, Eichel, Draisaitl, Laine, and Barkov but yes top 10 player in the league based off of 1 season.

  • Gravis82

    Will hall, eberle and barzal be on the list?

    You could put the entire oilers dynasty team on this list also who were all traded well before their best before date for no reason really

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    To quote Ryan Robison

    “Dubnyk’s downfall began with a guy who couldn’t keep his foot out of his mouth, and his resurgence began with a guy who told him where to keep his foot in the goalmouth.”

  • reidgm

    Dubnyk was the scapegoat here for a series of bad teams. Yes, he didn’t play well at times but I think that the overall team defense was a big part of that as well. When he landed in Minnesota he was on a team that plays a solid structured game and that really helped him adapt. And just imagine how he felt when he looked up and saw Sutter on the back of a player in front of him and knew that guy was going to be there 30 minutes a game. Far better than seeing Belov, Grebeshkov, Potter, etc.

  • TKB2677

    This isn’t meant as a shot at Brownlee because I like reading the stuff he puts out and respect him as a journalist but I really don’t like these type of articles. I don’t like them because they tend to stir up a segment of Oilers who LOVE to live in the past and who can’t get over moves that in their opinion weren’t good.

    When Dubnyk was the Oilers starter and he entire time as an Oiler, he was just OK. He would at times look amazing for stretches, then look below average letting in crap goals. It wasn’t just game to game but almost period to period. In his last year as an Oiler he was brutal. He had .894 % and 3.36 as an Oiler. If a back up puts up numbers like that, he’s out of the league mid season. Dubnyk was a starter. Then he goes to Nashville a team with a good defense and system and he’s worse. So bad the coach called him crap. Then they ship him to Montreal and he goes to the AHL for the rest of the year. So when the Oilers gave up on him, he wasn’t even in the NHL at the end of that season. He goes to Arizona the next year for almost nothing contract wise, works with Burke, puts up decent numbers, then takes off in Minnie. So for fans to complain about Dubnyk being a missed opportunity, he went from the Oilers, to Nashville, to Montreal to the AHL in 1 season. Then he went to Arizona and got his game back, then to Minnie to take off. So count them up. That is 6 teams and 5 organizations in a little over a year.