The Minnesota Wild are playing some good hockey right now. That wasn’t the case before January 14. On that day they sent a third-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for a 28-year-old netminder Devan Dubnyk. This turned out to be a good decision by the Wild organization.
Before being shipped North, Dubnyk was having a good season in net for the Coyotes. He posted a 9-5-2 record and a save percentage of .916 in those 16 games. Right now, that .916 save percentage ranks about 34th or so among NHL goalies, so, a pretty good but not stellar start to the year.
Dubnyk was out performing the other Coyotes netminder, Mike Smith, who is currently getting paid $6 million this season for his 11-31-5 record, but that’s a whole other story as the Coyotes are one of the more interesting teams in the NHL this season.
Since joining the Minnesota Wild, Dubnyk has been the hottest goalie in the NHL. The Saskatoon puck stopper has gone 17-3-1 with the green and red and stopped 494 of the 529 pucks he’s faced for a save percentage of .938. Combine that .938 with his .916 in Arizona you get a nice .927 save percentage. His goals allowed average isn’t too bad either at 1.62.
His save percentage is better than a few names you may find familiar; Pekka Rinne, Braden Holtby, and Marc-Andre Fleury just to name a few. His goals allowed average is superior to all the names listed above and many more. Simply put, Dubnyk is very good at stopping hockey pucks.
One last note before looking at awards: The Wild currently sit in the number one Western Conference wild card spot with a record of 35-22-7 and Dubnyk has been between the pipes for 23 consecutive games. Safe to say this team isn’t where they are without Dubnyk in the crease.
Vezina Trophy Chances
This should be a legitimate discussion. Dubnyk has been one of the best goalies on the planet this season, there’s no question about it. His save percentage with the Wild is .938, which is absurd. That .938 is even better than everyone’s Vezina favorite Carey Price. Now of course, this is a whole season award but his .927 save percentage on the year is still impressive.
Dubnyk has a legit shot for 3rd Vezina finalist spot (assuming Price & Rinne are locks). Between him and…Holtby? Schneider? Luongo?
— Mike Halford (@HalfordPHT) March 6, 2015
Granted, this award isn’t just handed over to the guy with the best save percentage. But, think about it, he posted a save percentage of .916 with the 21-37-7 Coyotes in front of him.
Price and Pekka Rinne stand atop the Vezina mountain at the moment but if Dubnyk can keep up this pace till the end of the season is he not in the discussion?
Hart Trophy Chances
The Vezina may be a stretch but the Hart is even a bigger stretch. The Hart is awarded to the most valuable player to his team. Dubnyk is that for Minnesota, but the last netminder to take home the award was Jose Theodore in the 2001-2002 season.
History is against him and other puck stoppersdoesn’t help his cause and neither do other players around the league. Price and Rinne we’ve already talked about, and they’re two goalies most likely ahead of him in the Hart race. Skaters like John Tavares, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and others are players Dubnyk is chasing.
All in all Mr. Dubnyk should be in discussions at least for these awards. He’s come a long way, had quite the journey and is a great story in the NHL. Dubnyk has been stopping pucks in quite the fashion this season, everyone knows that, and now everyone may want to start discussing him with these prestigious awards as well.
Stats are to date as of March 5th.