At the 3:03 mark of the third period in Monday night's loss to the Ducks, Daniel Winnik took a wrist shot that was turned away by Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk. That shot was the 4,000 faced in Dubnyk's career. Having faced that volume of shots, not to mention having played in 133 games, we're starting to get a much better picture of Dubnyk's true skill level. The numbers seem to tell a story of a goalie that ins't elite but doesn't hurt his team either, giving the Oilers a good chance to win on most nights.
Before the season started I looked at the Oilers goaltending situation and had this to say about Dubnyk:
In his career Dubnyk has now faced 3,062 shots. If you break those shots into one thousand shot intervals, roughly 35 game segments, you get save percentages of 0.901, 0.907, and 0.919. Everything seems to be trending in the right direction for Dubnyk. Now, I wouldn't expect a jump over the next 1,000 shots like we saw in the last segment but even if Dubnyk were to level out at around 0.920 he would be providing the Oilers with better goaltending than they've had at any other point of Rebuild 2.0.
Fast forward to today and Dubnyk has now faced more than 4,000 shots. How did he fare over the last 1,000 shots? Here is his save percentage broken in 1,000(ish) shot intervals.
|Shot Numbers||Games Played||Save Percentage|
The first thing you might notice is that the numbers in the chart don't match exactly what I wrote a few month ago. The reason for this was that before the season I had 3,062 shots to deal with an tried to distribute them as evenly as possible, where as now I've kept the intervals as close to 1,000 as possible. The result is that one or two games move from one interval to the next but the overall picture remains the same. The second thing you'll notice is that the last 1,000 shots look a lot like the 1,000 that came before.
That consistency in Dubnyk's game can't be taken as anything other than a positive. It should be pointed out though that 2,000 shots faced and 68 games doesn't amount to much more than a single season worth of action for a starting goalie so there is still a lot we don't know about Dubnyk but the signs are encouraging. Given the Oilers goaltending woes in recent years, that Dunbyk appears to be trending in the right direction is fantastic news for fans.
As I said earlier Dubnyk is not an elite netminder, the goalie who can steal your team a couple points every week, but he's having a solid season and would be a long way down the list of the Oilers problems this season. With a .923 save percentage Dubnyk is on pace to set a new career best and finds himself ranked 9th among his peers. Again though, that rank needs a small disclaimer added to it which I will do with the following table.
|Even Strength||0.923 (22nd)||0.921|
|Penalty Kill||0.912 (5th)||0.867|
Overall, Dubnyk is well above the NHL average but it's his play on the penalty kill that is driving the overall number and there is a potential problems with that. You know the word, regression. Dubnyk hasn't shown a consistent ability to perform above average on the penalty kill so you have to question this season's performance. Last season his save percentage on the penalty kill near the bottom of the league at 0.821; this season he's jumped almost to the top of the league with a 0.912 save percentage. Which one of those is the real Dubnyk? The answer is likely neither, that the true Dubnyk lies somewhere in between. Hopefully somewhere near the average.
And if Dubnyk turns out to be just average on the penalty kill and in his overall game, is that a bad thing? No it's not. With the salary cap there is only so much elite that a team can afford. Every dollar you spend on goaltending is a dollar you can't spend somewhere else in your roster. If Dubnyk is good enough to not hurt the Oilers, providing them with nothing more than a chance to win night in and night out then he's good enough to be there starter in my opinion. And 4,000 shots into his career, that is the goalie he appears to be.