Dubnyk Entering Some Elite Company

Kirk Irwin

How good has Devan Dubnyk been in 2013? So far his season is up there with some all-time Oilers greats.

What would you say if I told you that Devan Dubnyk has the best single-season save percentage of any Oilers goalie who played at least 20 games? After yet another fantastic performance on Sunday afternoon, it doesn't seem so far fetched. His 0.916 Sv% over 35 games in 2010-11 is indeed at the top of the list.

But that's a bit unfair to some of the all-time-greats the Oilers have boasted in net over their history. If you could transport Dubnyk back to 1984-85 he may well have been the best goalie in the league, but that's because goaltending has gradually improved over those thirty years. When we compare Oilers goaltenders to their peers, we get a better idea of which netminders have had the greatest performances.

Below is a chart which lists every Oilers goalie who played at least 20 games in a season since 1983-84. Each goalie's season save percentage is compared to the league average from that year, and ordered by performances that were the most above average. Ties go to the player with the most games played.

YEAR GOALIE SV% NHL AVG SV% DIFFERENCE
1984-85 Andy Moog 89.4% 87.5% 1.9%
1985-86 Grant Fuhr 89.0% 87.4% 1.6%
1985-86 Andy Moog 88.9% 87.4% 1.5%
1999-00 Tommy Salo 91.4% 90.4% 1%
1983-84 Grant Fuhr 88.3% 87.3% 1%
1984-85 Grant Fuhr 88.4% 87.5% 0.9%
1983-84 Andy Moog 88.2% 87.3% 0.9%
2008-09 Dwayne Roloson 91.5% 90.8% 0.7%
1990-91 Bill Ranford 89.3% 88.6% 0.7%
1989-90 Bill Ranford 88.7% 88.1% 0.6%
2001-02 Tommy Salo 91.3% 90.8% 0.5%
2006-07 Dwayne Roloson 90.9% 90.5% 0.4%
2007-08 Mathieu Garon 91.3% 90.9% 0.4%
1993-94 Bill Ranford 89.8% 89.5% 0.3%
2010-11 Devan Dubnyk 91.6% 91.3% 0.3%
1996-97 Curtis Joseph 90.7% 90.5% 0.2%
1986-87 Andy Moog 88.2% 88.0% 0.2%
1987-88 Grant Fuhr 88.1% 88.0% 0.1%
2000-01 Tommy Salo 90.4% 90.3% 0.1%
1986-87 Grant Fuhr 88.1% 88.0% 0.1%
2003-04 Ty Conklin 91.2% 91.1% 0.1%
2011-12 Devan Dubnyk 91.4% 91.4% 0%
1997-98 Curtis Joseph 90.5% 90.6% -0.1%
1992-93 Bill Ranford 88.4% 88.5% -0.1%
1988-89 Bill Ranford 87.7% 87.9% -0.2%
1988-89 Grant Fuhr 87.6% 87.9% -0.3%
1991-92 Bill Ranford 88.4% 88.8% -0.4%
2011-12 Nikolai Khabibulin 91.0% 91.4% -0.4%
2002-03 Jussi Markkanen 90.4% 90.9% -0.5%
1992-93 Ron Tugnutt 87.9% 88.5% -0.6%
2007-08 Dwayne Roloson 90.1% 90.9% -0.7%
1998-99 Bob Essenssa 90.1% 90.8% -0.7%
2002-03 Tommy Salo 89.9% 90.9% -1%
2009-10 Jeff Deslauriers 90.1% 91.1% -1%
1995-96 Curtis Joseph 88.6% 89.8% -1.2%
1998-99 Mikhail Shtalenkov 89.6% 90.8% -1.2%
1989-90 Grant Fuhr 86.8% 88.1% -1.3%
2003-04 Tommy Salo 89.6% 91.1% -1.5%
2005-06 Mike Morrison 88.4% 90.1% -1.7%
1994-95 Bill Ranford 88.3% 90.1% -1.8%
2006-07 Jussi Markkanen 88.6% 90.5% -1.9%
2005-06 Jussi Markkanen 88.0% 90.1% -2.1%
2010-11 Nikolai Khabibulin 89.0% 91.3% -2.3%
1995-96 Bill Ranford 87.5% 89.8% -2.3%

That's a lot of data! There are a few things we can take from this chart.

Notably, Nikolai Khabibulin's 2010-11 season was the second-worst in recorded Oilers history, compared to his peers. On the other end of the spectrum is Andy Moog, whose 39 games in the 1984-85 season is the best ever when we adjust for era.

Unsurprisingly, those Oilers goalies from the 1980s were stellar, and among the best that fans in Edmonton have ever seen. On the other hand, it's a little unexpected to see Tommy Salo poking his way in between Fuhr and Moog at the top.

When looking at Oilers goaltenders this way, Devan Dubnyk's 0.916 Sv% in 2010-11 drops to 15th on the list, which is probably a more accurate representation when comparing him to guys like Moog and Fuhr. But there's something else to consider: Dubnyk is currently sporting a 0.928 save percentage over 11 games, which is 1.9% better than the current league average. If he keeps it up he'll find his name at the top of this chart as one of the greatest 20+ game seasons of any Oilers goaltender. $3.5 million is beginning to look like a bargain.

***

On a personal note, I'd like to say that it's an honor to write for the Copper and Blue. I hope this first post and the ones that follow it help to carry on the C&B's excellent tradition.
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