Dubnyk to start for Wild against Sabres — can he help save Minnesota’s season?


Time will tell how this story ends, but beginning tonight in Buffalo when Devan Dubnyk starts in goal for the Minnesota Wild, there’s at least the potential for a pretty good tale of redemption.

Dubnyk, who struggled so badly at the beginning of last season in Edmonton, was traded yesterday to the Wild from Arizona. Minnesota, the NHL’s most disappointing team of the 2014-15 campaign, was in dire need of better goaltending, and it’s hoping Dubnyk can provide far better than what Darcy Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom have managed.

To make the playoffs, the Wild will need to go in the neighborhood of 24-12-4 in their final 40 games. Unlikely? Yes. But not impossible.

Dubnyk went 9-5-2 with a .916 save percentage in Arizona. Five on five, his save percentage is among the highest in the league. While the Wild will need to be better in all areas, not just goaltending, GM Chuck Fletcher is hoping that the 28-year-old can provide some stability between the pipes.

“I don’t think it’s any secret we have bigger expectations for our goaltending than what they’ve provided for us this season,” Fletcher said, per the Star Tribune. “We were looking to add a goaltender that’s capable of winning games and pushing the other two as well.

“I thought it was time for me to give this team a shot in the arm and we’ll keep trying. We’ll see if we can add more pieces. If we can do it, great, but it has to come from the inside, too, and maybe this is a spark they need to get going.”

After last season, Dubnyk didn’t even know if he’d be in the NHL in 2014-15. Now he’s being asked to “spark” a team that’s lost six in a row and 12 of its last 14.

“Right now we’re in a perilous position for our season and we have to win some games,” Fletcher said. “We’re capable of doing it. But we have to stabilize here. We’ve got to get going. We’re better than this. It’s time. It’s more than time.”