Making the case for Devan Dubnyk

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One position that’s often viewed as a weakness in Edmonton has been goaltending. Devan Dubnyk is out to change that perception.

Dubnyk has been, more or less, the man in Edmonton for the past two seasons and you could argue he’s been their best goalie going back to the 2010-11 season. Last season he put up the kind of numbers that made a case for him to be the permanent No. 1 guy.

Since debuting in the 2009-10 season with less-than exciting numbers (4-10-2, .889, 3.57), his last three seasons have been under-the-radar good for a goalie playing on a losing team. Over that time, his save percentage is a decent .917 to go along with a passable 2.65 goals-against average.

Last season he posted career-highs in SV% (.921) and GAA (2.57) and led the Oilers to 12th in the Western Conference. Even in spite of his play, the Oilers sniffed around at other goalies leading Dubnyk to wonder just why they team was doing that.

Many great goalies in the league benefit from having a great defense in front of them both on the blue line and at forward. Dubnyk’s time in Edmonton hasn’t really seen either of those things.

If you just focus on the defensemen, of the four guys who logged the most average minutes (Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz, Ladislav Smid, and Nick Schultz) they combined for a plus-minus rating of minus-30. Even with a flawed stat like plus-minus that’s astoundingly poor. They’ve added Boyd Gordon to strengthen the forward defense, but unless the blue line gets better the struggles will continue.

If the Oilers find a new dedication to defensive play under new head coach Dallas Eakins, Dubnyk could see a boost in his numbers and perhaps even a chance to show what he’s got in the postseason.