The biggest unrestricted free agent in this market has a big week coming up.
Devan Dubnyk is heading to Las Vegas to represent the Minnesota Wild at the NHL Awards on Wednesday, where he is up for the Vezina Trophy and the Masterton Trophy.
Dubnyk is set to hit the open market on July 1, and he has yet to be re-signed by the Wild. This is a crucial period for the Wild to get their 2014-15 savior/goaltender locked up. And Dubnyk has the team by the … you know what.
Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune shows how Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher will be the world’s busiest GM next week in trying to bring back Dubnyk.
In fact, not only will Fletcher meet with Dubnyk on Tuesday in Las Vegas before the general managers’ meeting, Fletcher likely will cut his trip short and not attend the NHL Awards Show (Dubnyk is up for the Vezina and Masterton trophies). Instead, he might fly to Fort Lauderdale early for next weekend’s NHL draft so he can meet with Dubnyk’s agent, Mike Liut, on Wednesday.
We’ve gotten to the point in this negotiation, where there’s enough unrest that the talk has gotten tougher.
Check out this quasi threat by Fletcher in the piece:
“Our intention is to have two goaltenders next year,” Fletcher said, sarcastically. “The longer it goes you don’t have a deal, the more aggressively you have to look at options. There are free agents, and at the draft, lots of trades transpire.
Apparently Dubnyk is looking for more than $5 million on a long-term deal. Minnesota wants to hit the $4 million spot for the goaltender who only a year ago lost out to Carter Hutton in Nashville for the team’s backup job.
The longer this goes, the more it seems perfectly plausible for Dubnyk, who saved the Wild’s season last year, to try to test his worth. Or at least drag this out to push the Wild up to the $5 million mark.
With the Wild last season, he had a 1.78 goals against average and .936 save percentage. Dubnyk had a 27-9-2 record with Minnesota. Before the Jan. 14 trade with Arizona that sent Dubnyk to Minnesota, the team was 18-19-5. The Wild finished 46-28-8.
With the exception of 2013-14, his numbers throughout his career have not been terrible.
The three previous seasons, all with the horrible Edmonton Oilers, his save percentages were at .916, .914 and .920 respectively.
He wasn’t a bad goaltender before 2013-14, but is he $5 million per-year goaltender now? Who knows, but he should try his best to set himself up monetarily for the rest of his career, says Hockey Wilderness.
Dubnyk has every reason and right to pursue the best deal that he possibly can get for himself. Remember, we're talking about a player who, one year ago, was wondering whether he was going to have an NHL job. Does it not make sense, given he's faced the prospect of his career ending, that he'd try to get as much security as possible? He'd be dumb if he weren't trying to do this.
Hockey Wilderness also points out that $5 million is actually not crazy for a goaltender. We can play the game of, ‘if Cam Ward is worth $6.3 million per-year cap hit, then what do you pay Dubnyk?’
Jonathan Quick’s salary cap hit rests at $5.8 million. Marc-Andre Fleury’s deal was signed this season – at $5.75 million salary cap hit. Corey Crawford makes $6 million per-year.
Dubnyk’s prior deal was one year for $800,000, per GeneralFanager.com.
His previous deal was for two years at $7 million. If the Wild want to raise him about $500,000 per-year from that contract, of course that number would appear unacceptable for Dubnyk, who is a light-years better goaltender now than when he signed that deal, which started in the 2012-13 season.
There’s also more of a time crunch on this for the Wild than just July 1. Teams can start talking to players Thursday as part of a free agency courting period.
As Elliotte Friedman notes:
“…all it takes is one (team) to send things sideways. How interested is San Jose, for example? And, if the Wild need to look elsewhere, that means extra competition for those teams seeking to fill the position.”
In this case, Dubnyk has all the leverage. He resurrected Minnesota’s season. The Wild has no great ‘Plan B’ if they can’t get Dubnyk re-signed.
Unless the Wild come in with an incredible offer before Thursday, it would appear a resolution won’t come quickly. And we may actually have a big name on the unrestricted free agent market after all. Huzzah!
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