It’s not safe to assume that opening night starter = number one goalie. That being said, it’s often a statement from teams, whether Bruce Boudreau admits it or not.
If you subscribe to that way of thinking, then you probably will believe that Devan Dubnyk is the Edmonton Oilers’ top option in net. Typical NHL practice procedures lead many to believe that Dubnyk will start in the Oilers’ season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
The Oilers are making a sensible move with Dubnyk, even if they probably will stare sadly at the paychecks they’re going to hand Nikolai Khabibulin for the next two seasons. The Bulin Wall is quite broken down and obviously faced some embarrassing legal issues, but he owns a 35+ contract so the Oilers can’t just bury his cap hit in minor league shame.
Chances are high that the “lucky winner” of the starting job won’t look very glamorous in Edmonton. Their defense’s sad state is reflected in just how much they miss Ryan Whitney, a blueliner whose shortcomings in his own end take away from his point producing abilities.
If Dubnyk can manage to keep the dangerous Penguins from completing a sweep of Western Canada, the Oilers will feel great about this choice – and maybe even a lot of confidence for the future.