Devan Dubnyk is fantastic, and people are finally starting to admit it.
Back prior to Dubnyk’s trade, Richard Flores over at Howlin’ Hockey chatted about sustainable goaltender percentages, in an attempt to both prove that Mike Smith‘s atrocious numbers would go up and Devan Dubnyk’s good numbers would likely stay the same. Travis Yost of TSN took that a bit farther this week, looking at goaltender career numbers when adjusted for usage and quality of shot attempts.
By all counts, Dubnyk is a good goalie — but as he prepares for this twenty-sixth straight start with the Minnesota Wild (and his twenty-seventh straight start on the season overall), it might be time to admit that he’s having nothing short of a miraculous season. The best part? It might be sustainable, at least through June.
With a .937 SV% in Minnesota, Dubnyk is putting up the kinds of numbers that only Carey Price is able to rival; even when you account for his performance as the last line of defense behind the Arizona Coyotes, he’s only rivaled by Pekka Rinne for numbers over the season. He’s put up six shutouts, and only has three ‘RBS’ games on the season — in comparison, Vancouver starter Ryan Miller has seven.
There’s still an overwhelming amount of controversy about whether or not Dubnyk should be in consideration for the Hart or the Vezina; without him the Wild were dead in the water, but there’s still a bad taste left in the mouths of many from his disastrous 2013-2014 campaign and the plummet he took from a starting job to the AHL.
Chances are, the numbers Dubnyk are putting up are the best fans will ever see out of him; he deserves a starting position moving forward, but we’re unlikely to see him posting close to a .940 SV% behind a playoff contender more than once moving forward. His numbers over time suggest that in reality, he’ll post a career average that looks similar to Jaroslav Halak‘s in a best-case scenario, and will look like Marc-Andre Fleury‘s in a more realistic scenario. There’s nothing wrong with that, but being honest with ourselves, neither of those netminders are Carey Price-level.
For this season, though, the twenty-seven straight starts Dubnyk has competently made (second only to Jonas Hiller‘s 32 consecutive starts in 2011-2012), show that he’s probably riding on the adrenaline and good vibes that a successfully-executed career revival can bring. As long as he keeps that up, he could feasibly pull off a successful cup run without a moment’s hesitation.