The Arizona Coyotoes did a strange thing yesterday when they traded their best goalie, Devan Dubnyk, to the Wild for a third round pick. On the surface this might sound like a fairly yawnstipating deal. The Wild are getting killed in goal this season and it’s one of the few parts that don’t work for them, but adding a guy who has a career GAA of 2.88 might seem like the wrong direction to take to fix those woes, but if you take a deeper dive into his numbers you’ll find a goalie who has been burned by playing on some of the worst possession teams in the league for his entire career, and this season is no different. With Niklas Backstrom clearly past it and Darcy Kuemper both injured and clearly not ready to handle a starter’s workload, Dubs will get every opportunity to win the starting job right now and that means if you need help in the crease, he’s is definitely worth adding.
The first thought that comes to mind with Dubnyk is that he’s been terrible for years. Really, he hasn’t been that bad at all. Playing for the Oil left the former 14th overall pick with a horrible win-loss record and a rather bloated career GAA, but those two stats tell you the least about a goaltender’s value, so don’t be mislead. In five-on-five situations Dubnyk’s save percentage is a whopping .929%, which is good for 10th out of 35 goalies with at least 750 minutes played this year. That’s elite. It also tells us that Dubs is mostly getting burnt when his team is on the PK, and the Coyotes are killing them off at a paltry rate of 74.5%, good for 29th in the league. In stark contrast the Wild is 8th best killing penalties at a robust 84.3% clip. It stands to reason that if Dubs is in front of a much better PK and generally better defense, he’s going to do a hell of a lot better in Minnesota than he ever had a chance to be in Arizona or Edmonton.
Think all that sounds good? It is. But wait, there’s more!
The Arizona Coyotes are the sixth worse team in league in shots against allowing a whopping 31.8 per game, while the Wild sit at 27th allowing just 27.2 per game. There’s a pretty big gulf there and it sounds like Dubs is in for a much easier ride, despite the division upgrade, now that he’s a member of the Wild. That also exposes just how poorly Backstrom and Kuemper were playing and why Dubs’ GAA is so bloated.
Goalies are highly variable so it’s hard to say what to expect, but the numbers show that Dubnyk has the skill to justify his 14th overall selection in the 2004 draft and the move Wild GM Chuck Fletcher made to bring him on board a team so desperate for goaltending help. Shake the notion that he’s a bad goalie and start reminding yourself he’s a talented netminder who hasn’t been given a chance to really showcase his talents, perhaps until now. If you own Kuemper or you need help in the crease, make room for Dubs why dontcha? If you act fast, you’ll get him for his start tonight against the Sabres. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in the world o’ fantasy hockey recently:
Pekka Rinne is out for 3-5 weeks with a sprained knee and that absolutely crushes his owners. Carter Hutton is the add if you missed out on Dubnyk as he’ll likely get the lion’s share of the starts, at least in the short term, but likely for the full month that Rinne is out. Ugh.
Tyler Johnson is practicing already, so he should be back before the All-Star Break. Victor Hedman, on the other hand, is not practicing yet and there is no time-table or new details about his LBI. More Ugh.
Leo Komarov is down again, this time with an UBI. He wasn’t on the ice for practice today so he won’t play. He’s day-to-day.
Marco Scandella finally hit the IR after missing four games with a head injury. There is no time table for his return and he’s eligible to return whenever he’s ready. Stash him on IR if you can but with head injuries you never know how long the guy will be out, so don’t hold your breath.
Ryan Suter was suspended for two games for elbowing Steve Downie in the noodle the other day. That’s two of the top four defenseman out for at least the next two games for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk will feel right at home!
Jaromir Jagr is still out sick and won’t be back before the weekend.
Kevin Connauton, D (1 G, 3 SOG, +1) – Conan has never been big on scoring lots of points, but he has settled into a comfy role along side James Wisniewski, D (1 A, 1 SOG, +1, 2 PIM) clocking around 16 minutes of TOI per game with a dash o’ time on the second power play unit for the Jackets, too. He’s currently on pace for 17 goals and around 30 points this season, but like I said there’s no real track record of scoring like this, so I would expect a bit of a slow down in the second half. I’d say he’s probably good for another 5-8 goals rather than 10 more. He’s a low-end fourth defenseman with decent upside in the years to come.
Kyle Palmieri, RW (1 G, 2 SOG) – Palms is an interesting guy in the second half now that he’s settled into a good bit of chemistry with Ryan Kesler, C (), but his bloated 23.5% shooting percentage is a pretty big red flag. I’d expect a bit of a slow down in the second half despite his top six role on the Ducks.
Corey Perry, RW (3 G, 6 SOG, +3) – Last night was the first time Perry really looked like Perry since he returned from his knee injury in late December. He had just one goal in the eight games leading up to his hatty last night, so hopefully for his owners this is a sign that he’s ready to give you a strong second half. I see no reason why he wouldn’t barring injury.
Frederik Andersen, G (W, 28 SV, 1.000%, 28 SA, SHO) – I was worried that Freddy might be headed on another rough ride after he looked a bit shaky in his last few starts but there’s no better cure for that than a 28 save shutout. My fears were unfounded, apparently, and he’s all system’s go in the second half of the season.
Jonathan Bernier, G (L, 21 SV, 3 GA, .875%) – Well, the Leafs are allowing fewer shots since the coaching change, anyway.
Martin Jones, G (L, 10 SV, 3 GA, .769%) – Jones’ line works a lot worse than he played. The first goal was stuffed past Jones in a crowd. The second goal went off Drew Doughty, D (1 A, 1 SOG) and in, though Jones got a piece of it with his foot before it trickled over the line. The third goal was a give away by the defense in the neutral zone that allowed Martin Havlat, RW (1 G, 2 SOG, +1) to get into the slot and just flat out beat Jones high glove side, which was less forgivable but he did get hanged out to dry a bit there. At any rate, Jon Quick, G (L, 5 SV, 2 GA, .714%) came in to relieve Jones and promptly gave up two goals on seven shots, so he wasn’t much better.
Marian Gaborik, RW (1 G, 3 SOG, -1) – What do you do with a one-dimensional former superstar who is beyond injury prone and clicking big time on that one-dimension at the moment? Sell, sell, sell! You’ll get somebody good for Gabby, his name still carries some value and he’s scoring goals right now.
Robb Zepp, G (L, 25 SV, 1 GA, .962%) – Ray Emery was pegged as the stater when Steve Mason hit the IR recently, but it has been Zepp in goal for two straight games since then. He was bleh in the first game, but he looked pretty solid against a dangerous Caps offense, so he might have earned himself a third straight start. If you’re really desperate for goalie help and Devan Dubnyk is gone, Zepp might be worth a flier, but remember he’s a Philly goalie, so… yeah.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (L, 28 SV, 3 GA, .903%) – Bob is definitely slumping. He’s allowed 20 goals over his last five starts good for a paltry .874 SV% over that span. That’s pushed his season line to a bloated 15-13-2/2.88/.913% in 30 games, though he was much, much better than this in 11 games last month posting a line of 9-1-1/2.14/.937%. He’s really only had one good month, but he was hurt for a bit, the Jackets were completely destroyed by injury for a bit and generally speaking, Bobs should be fine in the second half.