With the Minnesota Wild’s win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, goalie Devan Dubnyk is now 26-8-3 in his stints with the Wild and the Arizona Coyotes, playing a total of 41 games this season.
He has a 2.11 goals-against average, which is second to Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (1.92) for goalies with at least 20 starts. He has a .927 save percentage, which ties him for third in the NHL behind Price (.935) and Cory Schneider (.928). His even-strength save percentage (.933) ranks him seventh in the NHL for goalies with at least 20 games played.
He's also starting his 23rd straight game for the Wild against the Hurricanes tonight.
And this is where we remind you that he’s DEVAN DUBNYK.
That he’s a goalie that’s had a save percentage better than .920 once in his career, in 38 starts with the 2012-13 Edmonton Oilers. That he was a spare part reclamation project for Sean Burke and the Coyotes after a disastrous 2013-14 season that saw him bounce from Edmonton to Nashville along with the AHL.
That he outplayed Mike Smith – OK, not hard, considering how putrid he was – and went 9-5-2 with a .916 save percentage on a cratering Coyotes team.
That he was traded to the Wild and turned their season around. Yes, the team has played better coinciding with his arrival – they’ve held opponents to 25 or fewer shots in 11 of the 22 games in which Dubnyk’s appeared. But there’s no denying the impact his steady play had for a team that probably suspected that its goaltending was actively trying to sabotage their season given how inconsistent and detrimental it was.
The Dubnyk difference: Darcy Kuemper had a .908 even strength save percentage in 29 games for the Wild. Niklas Backstrom had a .889. Dubnyk has a .935 in 22 games.
With 77 points, the Wild are in a playoff spot currently, although there’s no guarantee they’ll make it. But if they do … there’s gotta be something Dubnyk gets for this remarkable season, isn’t there?
They have 18 games remaining. Let’s assume Dubnyk starts at least 14 of them, bringing his season total to 55 games. That’s basically two-thirds of a season, which is seriously going to impact postseason awards voters’ decisions. (Interesting, then, to see how much love Mark Giordano gets for the Norris as the hands-down best defenseman in hockey this season but having that season cut short at 61 games.)
As we noted earlier, Dubnyk’s numbers are sick and especially sick when you weed out the Coyotes’ numbers. But then again, why would you? Look at what Dubnyk did vs. any other goalie on the roster (but mostly Smith). He’s like Raul Julia in the “Street Fighter” movie, a brilliant performance surrounded by dreck.
The problem for Dubnyk is that there’s this other goalie in the NHL named Carey Price that has the “goalie MVP” credentials Dubnyk has along with better numbers. He’ll also end up with more than a dozen more games played, in theory, which is also a strong case.
Dubnyk overcoming Pekka Rinne and Carey Price and Marc-Andre Fluery for the Vezina is a tall order. Could a better case be made for the Hart?
Can a player win the Hart playing for two teams? Joe Thornton did it for the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks in 2006, as the best player for two months on the former and the driving force behind the latter’s playoff appearance.
But if a goalie wins the Hart, it’s going to be Price, no matter what Dubnyk’s winning percentage ends up being. He has the stats arguments and the impact argument and the voters’ attention. Even if the Canadiens were tabbed to be a playoff team by slightly more people than the Wild – that’s just an East vs. West obvious logic thing – Price is the MVP goalie.
The Lady Byng
He only has two penalty minutes this season and that’s all this award necessitates, right?
The First Annual Devan Dubnyk Award For Saving A Team’s Backside Via a Desperate Midseason Trade
We’re just to going to have to make something up for him. And what’s another award at the Vegas show if it means we’re spared a musical act?
I mean, they invented an Oscar to give to STAR WARS in 1977. (A special award for sound effects.) They can totally do the same for the man who saved the Wild’s season.
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