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Dubnyk ‘can’t see a reason’ for Edmonton’s goalie pursuit


Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has admitted he tried to land former LA Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier (who went to Toronto) and former Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider (who went to New Jersey).

Which begs the question — what does his current goalie think of all this?

“It’s a little surprising to me,” incumbent No. 1 Devan Dubnyk told the Edmonton Journal. “To my eyes, I can’t see a reason for it.”

Dubnyk, 27, handled a full-time starter’s gig for the first time last season (appearing in 79 percent of games; previous high was 57), and performed reasonably well.

While his record (14-16-6) left something to be desired, he finished with a .920 save percentage and 2.57 GAA, solid numbers considering the Oilers weren’t exactly playing airtight defense in front of him.

What’s more, he’s got a contract.

Edmonton inked Dubnyk to a two-year, $7 million deal in 2012, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.5 million.

While not a massive sum, it’s still more than Niklas Backstrom’s new deal in Minnesota ($3.4 million), Craig Anderson’s in Ottawa ($3.1 million) and Semyon Varlamov’s in Colorado ($2.8 million) — and all those guys are firmly entrenched as No. 1 netminders.

Dubnyk said he’s ready to be a “60-game goalie” this season and prepared to lead the Oilers in a playoff push.

But, he also concedes MacTavish’s moves stung a bit.

“My job is to try and stop pucks,” he explained. “It was surprising and disappointing, but right now, not much has changed.

“Until I’m told otherwise that I’m not No. 1, that’s where my head’s at.”

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.