The Edmonton Oilers season hasn’t gone well so far, but for goaltender Devan Dubnyk, it’s been an absolute disaster.
Of those that have logged at least 100 minutes so far, Dubnyk ranks dead last with a 5.43 GAA and has a second worst save percentage at .829.
“It’s not easy,” Dubnyk said. “This is probably the worst start to a year that I could have imagined. It’s frustrating and obviously the pressure builds.”
While hot and cold starts at the beginning of the season are often justifiably downplayed, there is the danger they will snowball. As Dubnyk put it, the pressure is building on him and it will only get worse until he shows some sign of breaking out of this slump.
That’s provided that the Oilers wait for him to bounce back. If Dubnyk’s fails to dig his way out of this rut over the next couple weeks, then Edmonton might start examining its other options.
Dubnyk isn’t likely to be given the chance to redeem himself tonight in Washington as Oilers coach Dallas Eakins is “leaning” towards using backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera.
If that’s the case, then Dubnyk’s first shot at a comeback will probably come tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That’s not exactly the team you want to face if you’re a struggling goaltender, but it would likely be a huge confidence boost for Dubnyk if he holds his own against Sidney Crosby’s squad.
Update: The Oilers have confirmed that LaBarbera will start tonight.