Minnesota coach Mike Yeo doesn’t worry about wearing out Devan Dubnyk by giving his savior goalie start after start after start.
In fact, it’s completely the opposite.
“I worry about not starting him,” Yeo said this morning, drawing laughter from the assembled media, ahead of tonight’s game on Long Island.
Yes, Dubnyk will start tonight. Just like he did last night in Toronto. And just like he’s done every game for the Wild since Jan. 13, when Niklas Backstrom — remember him? — got the nod.
Actually, no goalie besides Dubnyk has played even a second for the Wild since Darcy Kuemper — remember him? — came off the bench in a relief appearance on Jan. 20.
Both Backstrom and Kuemper remain on Minnesota’s active roster. But neither, for fairly good reason, has the trust of Yeo.
The Wild have tomorrow and Thursday off before hosting Calgary Friday and Los Angeles Saturday. Given the standings, don’t count on Yeo to give Dubnyk a break anytime soon.
Related: Yeo sees ‘no reason’ to rest Dubnyk
It’s been exactly two months since a goalie other than Devan Dubnyk played a second for the Minnesota Wild.
On Jan. 20, Darcy Kuemper came off the bench to relieve Dubnyk in a 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit.
Ever since then, it’s been Dubnyk all the way. And given how the team has fared with him between the pipes, coach Mike Yeo doesn’t see “any reason” for that trend to change.
“Certainly it’s something to keep an eye on,” Yeo said, per the StarTribune. “But I haven’t seen anything. For some reason, it’s a story that keeps coming up, and I haven’t seen any reason for it.”
Dubnyk has started every game — 29 in total — for the Wild since he was acquired from the Coyotes. His play has been the major catalyst to the team’s turnaround, with Minnesota going from a record of 18-19-5 pre-trade to 39-25-7 today.
But while the 28-year-old’s stretch of consecutive starts already includes four sets of back-to-backs, the Wild still have three back-to-backs left, including Monday and Tuesday in Toronto and Long Island, respectively.
So yes, it’s “something to keep an eye on” for sure.
The Wild host the Blues tomorrow.
Related: Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do
For the first time in a long time, there aren’t any questions surrounding the Minnesota Wild’s goaltending situation. Devan Dubnyk has started in eight straight games and he’s given the Wild no reason to think twice about letting him keep the number one job. This period of relative simplicity could be fleeting though.
While Dubnyk has led Minnesota to four consecutive wins by allowing just three goals over that span, Darcy Kuemper has been playing for the AHL Iowa Wild on a conditioning stint. The Wild’s decision to send him to the minors has been a handy stopgap measure, but they have to call him up on Monday at the latest. The alternative would be to risk losing the 24-year-old on waivers.
Along with Niklas Backstrom, that would give the Wild three healthy goaltenders on their roster.
“No one is going to lie and say it’s a great situation; there’s only two nets (in practice),” Dubnyk said, per the Pioneer Press. “But that’s the way it is. I’ve always been really adamant about having a good relationship with the other guys and rooting for each other. It’s a tough enough job, and we’re the only ones in the room that really know what it’s like.”
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said there’s no sense in worrying about it as the team will just have to wait and see how it goes. Bench boss Mike Yeo is trying not to think about it for now.
While having three goaltenders isn’t ideal, there’s no question that Minnesota made the right move by acquiring Dubnyk from Arizona. For the cost of a third round pick, he’s turned this team around and put the Wild back in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Topping the Calgary Flames 1-0 wasn’t just a big win for the Minnesota Wild. It also stood as a significant night for hopeful starting goalie Devan Dubnyk.
With Darcy Kuemper nearing game-readiness, Dubnyk needed to make a statement in a very important game against fellow bubble contender Calgary. Make no mistake about it: Dubnyk advanced his cause tonight.
He stopped all 30 Flames shots for a shutout, improving his record to 4-0-1 as a member of the Wild. The 28-year-old has been excellent all season long stretching back to his abbreviated time with the Arizona Coyotes.
One of Dubnyk’s best saves came against Paul Byron:
Wild head coach Mike Yeo seemed impressed:
Kuemper actually played himself tonight, only it was in a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Iowa Wild. It did not go anywhere near as well for the 24-year-old, as he only made it through two periods as his short-term team lost 6-0 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
One night doesn’t make things for Dubnyk and doesn’t break things for Kuemper, but the bottom line is that Dubnyk is doing what he can to carve out his own spot in the Wild’s almost-perpetually complicated netminding situation.
The Minnesota Wild have bought themselves a bit of time to consider their options regarding their goaltending situation. Darcy Kuemper will report to AHL Iowa on a conditioning stint, per the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo.
Kuemper can spend up to two weeks in the minors. He had been dealing with a lower-body injury, but he returned on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old netminder was hot out of the gate, but he regressed as the season dragged on until it got to the point where goaltending was a glaring weakness for the Wild. In response to that, Minnesota acquired Devan Dubnyk from Arizona.
Dubnyk has been a mixed bag in his four appearances with Minnesota, but it looks like the Wild want to give him a chance to earn the starting gig. If he can’t do that before Kuemper returns, then the Wild’s goaltending situation will be that much more complicated.
Wild will just ‘deal with’ their ‘tricky’ three-goalie scenario