One position that’s often viewed as a weakness in Edmonton has been goaltending. Devan Dubnyk is out to change that perception.
Dubnyk has been, more or less, the man in Edmonton for the past two seasons and you could argue he’s been their best goalie going back to the 2010-11 season. Last season he put up the kind of numbers that made a case for him to be the permanent No. 1 guy.
Since debuting in the 2009-10 season with less-than exciting numbers (4-10-2, .889, 3.57), his last three seasons have been under-the-radar good for a goalie playing on a losing team. Over that time, his save percentage is a decent .917 to go along with a passable 2.65 goals-against average.
Last season he posted career-highs in SV% (.921) and GAA (2.57) and led the Oilers to 12th in the Western Conference. Even in spite of his play, the Oilers sniffed around at other goalies leading Dubnyk to wonder just why they team was doing that.
Many great goalies in the league benefit from having a great defense in front of them both on the blue line and at forward. Dubnyk’s time in Edmonton hasn’t really seen either of those things.
If you just focus on the defensemen, of the four guys who logged the most average minutes (Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Ladislav Smid, and Nick Schultz) they combined for a plus-minus rating of minus-30. Even with a flawed stat like plus-minus that’s astoundingly poor. They’ve added Boyd Gordon to strengthen the forward defense, but unless the blue line gets better the struggles will continue.
If the Oilers find a new dedication to defensive play under new head coach Dallas Eakins, Dubnyk could see a boost in his numbers and perhaps even a chance to show what he’s got in the postseason.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.