Minnesota Wild: Devan Dubnyk Must Return to Form

Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Wild net minder once paced the league in several categories, but he has struggled mightily as of late.

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was once top choice for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender. At one point his GAA was below 2, he also led the league for much of the season in save percentage and shutouts.

However, along with the rest of the team, it has been tough as of late for Dubnyk. His save percentage has fallen to .924 and his GAA has ballooned to 2.23. While the team around him has had their share of issues defending, Dubnyk seems to have lost confidence in the net. The team has even shaken up their goalies with the recall of Alex Stalock. Although Dubnyk has since regained the net, the message is clear, play better or you will be replaced.

More from Editorials

A goalie known for his positioning and knack for the timely save, he hasn’t made nearly enough of them lately. For evidence of his lull in play, look at the last time Dubnyk posted a shutout, it was December 20th! At one point, the goalie led the league in that category. But a three-month drought has seen him plummet in that category as well.

It has been a disturbing trend for both goalie and team. And this comes at a time when teams want to be playing their best. Given Dubnyk’s performances in the playoffs the last two years, there is not encouragement for what is to come. In his only appearances with the team, Dubnyk owns a 2.84 GAA to go along with a .896 save percentage.

Outlook Going Forward:

This team is deep, as deep as it ever has been and can get goals from a bunch of different sources. It has been the strength of the team this year. But the Wild will not be successful if they are forced to score 3 or 4 goals to win.

Most disturbing of all is the amount of what appear to be easy goals Dubnyk has given up over this stretch. It often seems as if the goalie is not even there and the player is guiding the puck into an open net. Any sort of fluky bounce will end up in the back of the Wild net (as it did during a botched exchange against the Sharks).

Next: Minnesota Wild: The Opening Faceoff 16 Mar 17

In order for this team to have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup, they need Devan Dubnyk to play like he did early in the year. A goalie is the most important player in determining the outcome of a game. Coach Bruce Boudreau has already shown a willingness to replace him in net so Dubnyk better pick up his game. There is still time to right the ship before the playoffs, but time is running out.