by Lisa McRitchie on 05/21/12 at 04:30 PM ET
The Edmonton Oilers have several holes on their roster and in their system, but goaltending seems to be one of the situations that the Oilers can improve on without doing anything.
While consistency was the biggest concern for Dubnyk and the team, the first and final stretches of games saw Dubnyk play his best hockey of the season. But there were of course those games in the middle, those games where the entire team seemed to struggle. And now that Dubnyk is looking for another contract, what can we expect that to look like?
Through 47 games Dubnyk had a 0.914% save percentage and a goals against average of 0.267. Taking all three stats into account, that puts Dubnyk in the same ballpark as:
Meaning that Dubnyk could be asking for pretty much anything. His current expiring contract is for $800,000 and after his next contract he will be a UFA which makes things even more interesting.
Dubnyk was drafted by the Oilers, has suffered ups and downs with the team and arguably suffered the most from the Oilers not having an AHL affiliate team of their own for a time.
Now, Dubnyk has been given more starts and he has responded to the pressure. Splitting the season’s starts with veteran netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, Dubnyk took just over half of the starts and has kept his numbers fairly consistent from last season and while they may not be league leading stats, there is a strong possibility that those numbers will improve once the team in front of him does. With a few small tweaks, and even just the experiences this past season has brought the Oilers can be a better team especially with the addition of another highly skilled first round player from this year’s entry draft.
Looking at this season, the signs that improvement is imminent were there; the Oilers allowed far fewer goals against this year than last. But the shots against didn’t seem to decrease as much and on nights where Dubnyk was facing 40 plus shots, the Oilers were lucky to make it out alive.
Both sides should be looking for a shorter deal. The Oilers may still need some convincing that Dubnyk has what it takes to be their number one going forward, and Dubnyk surely wouldn’t mind earning a bigger contract. If the Oilers are looking to be smart when it comes to their immediate future and re-signing the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, signing Dubnyk to $1.5-1.75 million would be ideal.
To see that this would be a fair deal for both parties, James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs might be one of the best comparables. Reimer is two years younger and is also fighting for a spot as a starting goaltender. In his current contract, Reimer has another two seasons with a cap hit of $1.8 million and might be a good target for the Oilers and Dubnyk.But then again, we have seen some very interesting contract numbers come out of the Oilers’ office.
Both Oiler high profile goaltenders Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz show promise at this stage of their development and may be battling Devan Dubnyk for a starting role, but certainly not next season. The Oilers also have a pair of Finnish goaltenders in their system, but neither have been making headlines. And so Dubnyk will have a little extra time on his side, especially if the Oilers hope to develop from within.
With the IIHF World Championships now over, the Oilers should be signing a few of the RFAs and perhaps even a few UFAs in the coming weeks. But then again, we may have to wait for Oilers’ president of Hockey Operations to return from cheering his son Keegan Lowe of the Edmonton Oil Kings on at the Memorial Cup in Shawinigan Quebec. While a number of the Oilers who need new contracts will have question marks, it should be a given that Dubnyk is not one, and will be re-signed this summer.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
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