The Oilers’ youth movement and reliance on first-round picks to carry them forward is one that’s taking its time getting going. One of the biggest issues they’ve had in being a more consistent team is stopping opponents from scoring.
Nikolai Khabibulin hasn’t exactly been the stopper the team thought he’d be when they signed him as a free agent, they feel they’ve got a bright future with 2004 first-round pick Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk has split time with Khabibulin the past two seasons and has put up relatively average numbers.
Two seasons ago, Dubnyk had a .916 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average on the worst team in the NHL. Last season he saw his save percentage drop by .002 but his goals against average improved just slightly while playing in 12 more games. With numbers like that, the Oilers hope he’s just off to a slow start.
While his rookie season was bad, he’s gotten slightly better since then, enough for the Oilers to give him a stunning two-year extension worth $7 million. Hey, at least his numbers are better than that of Columbus goalie Steve Mason.
Still, who would you rather have for $3.5 million per season: Dubnyk, Tuukka Rask, or Kari Lehtonen? The Oilers hope their 26 year-old is about to hit his stride.