The Edmonton Oilers announced they’ve come to terms with RFA goalie Devan Dubnyk, signing him to a two-year deal worth $7 million — he’ll make $3.5 million annually, a nice bump from the $800,000 cap hit on his last deal.
The next two years will be crucial for Dubnyk. Taken 14th overall at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, he’s been brought along methodically by the Oilers and has yet to grasp the No. 1 gig.
Dubnyk didn’t make his NHL debut until 2009-10 — when he was 23 — and has yet to shoulder a significant workload. In 47 games last year (a career-high), he finished with a 20-20-3 record, .914 save percentage and 2.67 GAA with two shutouts.
Decent season, sure, but it didn’t exactly sew up the No. 1 gig.
At this stage of the game, Dubnyk is officially in “prove it” mode. Nikolai Khabibulin, 39, has just one year left on his deal at $3.75 million per and the opportunity to become the starter is there.
Dubnyk’s had something of a free pass for the last few years because the Oilers have been mired in the Western Conference basement. Nobody was pinning those finishes on the goaltending…but nobody was exactly enamored with the goaltending, either.
With a wealth of young talent up front, expectations are for the Oilers to improve this year and the next, especially record-wise.
If Dubnyk can’t backstop the Oilers to some wins, they’ll probably start looking for someone that can.