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Breaking Down the Devan Dubnyk Drama

Things have changed for Devan Dubnyk in one year’s time.

On June 1 of 2014, Dubnyk was signed by the Arizona Coyotes as an unrestricted free agent for $800k over one year. After getting off to a good start, the ‘Yotes decided to deal the goalie to the Minnesota Wild and his game has taken on another level and then some.

The Saskatoon native went from playing for a combined four different NHL teams in a year and a half to being named a Vezina Trophy finalist and Bill Masterton finalist after his efforts with the Wild.

Dubnyk ended the season with a 27-9-2 record with the Wild, along with an astounding .936 save percentage. Without Dubnyk, the Wild most likely miss out on the postseason and would have likely been looking for a new head coach as Mike Yeo was on the hot seat prior to the goalie arriving.

With the offseason setting in, the focus has turned to the unrestricted and restricted free agents around the league and Dubnyk is near the top of the list of UFA’s.

After quite the campaign in Minnesota—without question the best of his career—the puck stopper is looking for a pay increase. He deserves a raise from his $800k deal he signed a year ago, but we can’t forget that Dubnyk’s sample size as a great goalie is small.

Prior to the 2014-15 campaign, the 6’6” netminder allowed 3.3 or more goals a night for the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers in 2013-14.

Prior to his whacky 2013-14 season bouncing around the league, his save percentage with a poor Oilers team from 2011-13 stood at .918 to go along with a goals allowed average of 2.62. Those type of numbers put him into the top-30 and top-40 respectively in those statistics among all goalies in the NHL.

So what kind of money does he deserve? Well, he is looking for a deal worth $5 million per season according to Michael Russo of The Star Tribune.

Dubnyk spoke to the media at the NHL Awards press conference, addressing the situation of re-signing in Minnesotam saying:

It was a great situation last year, and both sides want to make it work. When that’s the case, usually you’re able to get something done. It’s the cap space, really, that’s causing the problem.

If the cap space is the cause of the problem, things may have become a bit easier for the two sides as the league announced it will increase to $71.4 million recently.

Then again, the “cap space causing the problem” line could mean that the Wild front office has not budged on an offer they have already made and Dubnyk’s camp doesn’t agree on the number. He also told media Tuesday that “(a)s long as it’s fair — and it has to be fair, then you’re going to do everything you can to make sure it happens.”

It indeed has to be a a fair deal, and the money Dubnyk is looking for doesn’t seem out of line. $5 million a season is less money Cory Schneider, Jimmy Howard, Sergei Bobrovsky, Kari Lehtonen and other puck stoppers in the NHL bring in on average.

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