Since being acquired by the Minnesota Wild, Devan Dubnyk has been nothing short of a Vezina-candidate netminder — and combined with his perfectly acceptable numbers with the Arizona Coyotes prior to getting dealt, he’s the league’s second most dominant goalie.
Dubnyk has made every start for the Wild since he arrived with the Central Division team, but he hasn’t let them down yet. He’s posted a 26-6-3 record in that time span — good for 35 wins on the season, behind only Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, Braden Holtby, and Ben Bishop — and recorded five shutouts. Combine that with the tough schedule they’ve played — Minnesota has brought home key wins over nearly every playoff team in the league since Dubnyk arrived — and the Wild have gone from the bottom of the league to a comfortable playoff berth.
Now, they’re in more than just a comfortable playoff berth — they’re in an actual Central Division spot.
With their win, the Minnesota Wild have surpassed the Chicago Blackhawks for third in the Central Division. Now, Jonathan Toews and his fellow powerhouse teammates are sitting in the first Wild Card spot — and they’re just four points ahead of the second Wild Card contenders, the Winnipeg Jets. It’s doubtful they’ll miss the post-season altogether, but they’re certainly going to have to work to stay where they are.
When Dubnyk arrived in Minnesota, the Wild were seventeen points back on the Blackhawks. With his twenty-sixth win, they now sit a point ahead of Chicago — and although they’ve got a tough schedule ahead, Dubnyk has proven that he can more than handle it.
The uncontested front-runner for both the Vezina trophy and the Hart trophy has been Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price, who tops the leaderboards and continues to bail out his offensively stagnant franchise game after game.
With yet another win — and elite numbers both with Minnesota and on average — Dubnyk has to be a part of both conversations now, though. After all — it’s one thing to improve when dealt to a better franchise, but it’s quite another to make a record-breaking number of starts in order to do so (all while managing to maintain elite numbers when averaging your stats to start out the year).
It’s unclear whether the Wild plan to play Dubnyk from now until the post-season begins — at this point, they hold such a strong grip on a playoff berth that they may not need to — but it is clear that if he can keep up this play through April, Minnesota is poised to be a real threat.