PHO

So…what should the Wild do with Dubnyk?

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There’s no two ways about it — Devan Dubnyk saved the Minnesota Wild’s season.

Before he joined them in January, they couldn’t get a save and were losing because of it. After he joined them, he was so good the biggest debate was whether he needed a rest. And for that, he was named a Vezina Trophy finalist.

But the Dubnyk magic eventually ran out. The 29-year-old went 4-6 in the playoffs with a .908 save percentage. He can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

So, what should the Wild do? They still have two goalies — Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper — signed for next season. Kuemper, just 25, could still be a very good NHL netminder. Backstrom, unfortunately, may not even be good enough to back up next season. (And don’t underestimate the importance of the back-up. It can be the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Just ask a team like the Dallas Stars.)

Chances are, GM Chuck Fletcher will at least attempt to re-sign Dubnyk. The challenge will be to get him under contract for a reasonable cap hit, as well as a term that limits the club’s long-term risk. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about goaltending in 2014-15, it’s that goaltending is extremely unpredictable.

The last thing the Wild will want to do is what the Coyotes did with Mike Smith, which is make a huge commitment to a guy based essentially on one excellent season, only to end up “married” to a guy with some of the worst numbers in the league. (Need we remind you of Dubnyk’s numbers in 2013-14?)

Of course, on the other hand, a team that doesn’t have goaltending is a team that has almost zero chance of consistently winning. (See: the Minnesota Wild, before Dubnyk.) Can the Wild really afford to let a Vezina Trophy finalist walk away?

Hence, the fascinating conundrum for GMs. Goaltending is the one position you absolutely cannot live without. While at the same time, it’s the one position where you can roll the dice on an inexpensive option and have it work out rather nicely for you.

Case in point, Braden Holtby’s cap hit is less than $2 million. He’s been pretty good for the Capitals, no? And let’s not forget about the Ducks, still very much alive in the playoffs, after gambling on two goalies for less than $2 million.

Try rolling the dice on a No. 1 center or d-man for less than $2 million and see how it works out.

Anyway, we don’t envy Fletcher here. He’s got a huge decision to make. And whatever choice he makes is fraught with risk.

(Video) PHT Extra: In praise of Braden Holtby

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Before we get to the video, did you know that Braden Holtby’s career save percentage in the playoffs is .936?

And did you know that, among all active goalies with at least 10 postseason appearances, only Mike Smith (.945) has a higher career save percentage than Holtby’s?

It’s true.

Now, the video:

Video: U.S. stays unbeaten at Worlds with win over defending champs Russia

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The U.S. continued to surprise at the 2015 World Hockey Championships on Monday, scoring a 4-2 win over defending champion Russia to remain undefeated in the group phase.

Arizona Coyotes center Mark Arcobello scored the game-winner for the Americans (3-0-0-0) midway though the third period, while Dallas prospect Jack Campbell stopped 15 of 17 shots for his first win of the tournament.

Anton Belov and Sergei Plotnikov replied for the Russians, who suffered their first loss.

It’s been a banner tourney for the Americans thus far, especially given their roster makeup. USA Hockey opted to rely heavily on youth; collegians Jack Eichel (Boston University), Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), Dylan Larkin (Michigan) and Mike Reilly (Minnesota) have all played significant minutes while in goal, Campbell and fellow AHLer Connor Hellebuyck have carried the load and done remarkably well, allowing just four goals over the first three games.

Of course, the U.S. is boasting a strong, NHL-heavy defensive unit led by Justin Faulk, Torey Krug and Seth Jones. The trio combined to play over 70 minutes in the win over Russia, with Krug scoring a goal and Jones finishing with two assists.

The U.S. will next play on Thursday against Belarus (10 a.m. ET), then face Denmark on Friday (2. p.m. ET), Slovenia on Sunday (3p.m. ET) and Slovakia on Tuesday (10 a.m. ET) to close out the group stage.

All Team USA games will be televised on NBCSN.