Oilers’ Dubnyk: “Not easy” for North American goalies to find work

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Devan Dubnyk wants to play hockey, but his nationality is making it tough.

According to the Oilers netminder (and Canadian passport holder), the opportunities presented to European goalies during the lockout aren’t as flush for North Americans.

“I haven’t seen any North Americans,” Dubnyk told the Edmonton Journal about the list of goalies currently playing overseas. “I have a few options in Europe, but it’s not easy for a North American goalie to pick up and go over.

“It has to be the right situation.”

To date, almost all the jobs have gone to European-born netminders.

Pekka Rinne, Ilya Bryzgalov, Semyon Varlamov and Sergei Bobrovsky signed in the KHL; Tuukka Rask and Ondrej Pavelec joined the Czech Extraliga; Antti Niemi returned to his native Finland and Viktor Fasth, signed to be Jonas Hiller’s backup in Anaheim, joined the Swedish second division.

(Note: LA Kings goalie and Quebec native Jonathan Bernier did buck the trend earlier today by signing in the German second division. Same with American/Isles goalie Rick DiPietro, who signed there yesterday.)

It’s a curious trend considering a large number of NHL skaters found no problem getting work, and even more curious given the slew of talented North American goalies currently out of work:

— Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury finished second in the NHL with 42 wins last season.

— Phoenix’s Mike Smith finished fourth in Vezina voting.

— Cory Schneider finished third with a 1.96 GAA last year. Jimmy Howard finished sixth with a 2.13.

— Carey Price was one of the six goalies named to the 2012 NHL All-Star game in Ottawa.

(List excludes LA’s Jonathan Quick, currently recovering from back surgery.)

The result is that goalies like Dubnyk are forced to practice, practice and practice again while the work stoppage drags on.

It’s a situation that’s beginning to take it’s toll.

“Look at the number of goalies still here (in North America),” he explained. “It’s not ideal for any of us.”