Devan Dubnyk may have had trouble finding a team to take him in this past summer — but since getting dealt to the Minnesota Wild in January, he’s been living a fairy tale.
Dubnyk has been named to the league’s ‘three stars’ honors four times since arriving with the Wild; in addition to being named the first star of the week once in February and now once in March, he was the third star of the week once in February and the first star of the month in February, as well.
It’s fair to say that he deserves it. Since getting dealt to Minnesota, the six foot six netminder has gone 26-6-1 (including 4-0-0 last week to earn the first star from the league), posting an elite 1.70 GAA and a .939 SV%. Overall, he’s inching closer and closer to matching netminder Carey Price‘s totals — he’s .007 behind him in SV%, and has only allowed .17 GAA more than Montreal’s starter. He’s made every single start since arriving in Minnesota — if you include starting his final game with Arizona prior to being traded, Dubnyk has now made 35 consecutive starts — and has yet to show any sign of regression; if there was any concern about him getting a nod for either the Vezina or the Hart, he’s all but cleared that up.
Following him, though, were two other NHLers who may not be getting nearly as much praise as they deserve.
Cam Atkinson recorded his second ever NHL hat trick with the surging Columbus Blue Jackets to earn last week’s second star award, posting four goals and seven points en route to three consecutive victories for the Metropolitan Division franchise.
The Blue Jackets were largely considered favorites around the league to be playoff upsets when the season began, but an unprecedented slew of injuries — including the announcement that forward Nathan Horton would be out permanently with a degenerative back condition — left them floundering near the bottom of the standings.
As players slowly return to health, though, the Blue Jackets are confirming what many suspected all along — when at full strength, they’re a dangerous team to contend with — and Cam Atkinson is plenty a part of that.
Ryan O’Reilly was the league’s third star of the week, rounding out the trio with his goal and seven assists over the last week en route to Colorado taking home two wins in four appearances.
The Avalanche have had a pretty abysmal season, falling off their larger-than-life stats from the year prior to hover near the bottom of the standings for most of the season. After their stalled-out offense discovered some consistency, the Central Division franchise was still stuck trying to shake off cobwebs in net — and figure out both their defensive play and special teams — for what’s looking like a fairly lost season.
O’Reilly, though, has continued to prove that he may be worth the money after all.
Initially known for being a strong two-way center, the Clinton, Ontario native has exploded on the power play and chipped in with fifty-two points for his franchise over seventy-five games. He’s third on the team in points (behind only veteran Jarome Iginla and captain Gabriel Landeskog), and was a huge part of the reason Colorado saw any pucks finding the back of the net in their two losses last week.