Saturday, January 15, 2011
Dubnyk Amongst The League's Best This Season
On a team allowing an average of 3.26 goals/game, Dubnyk's been able to maintain a 2.72 GAA (compare that with starting goalie Nikolai Khabibulin's 3.47 GAA). Although that number ranks him 28th in the league, I think it's a testament to his game that when he's in the nets the opposition averages an entire 0.5 goals less per game compared to the starting goalie.
That's when you start to wonder if Dubnyk's lower GAA might be explained by facing a fewer amount of shots/game than Khabibulin. But that's not the case either: he's been facing an average of 34.7 shots/60min, which is 2 shots/game higher than Khabibulin's 32.7 shots/60min. I know a difference like that doesn't seem too significant, but it makes Dubnyk's GAA seem that much more impressive when you realize he's been facing more shots on a nightly basis.
That's when you look at save percentage, the one goalie statistic that's perhaps the most representative of the goalie's individual performance (rather than the others which reflect the team as a whole). Devyn Dubnyk has a 0.922 S%, good for a tie for 10th in the league. Just to give some context, he's just behind guys like Henrik Lundqvist, Cam Ward, and Semyon Varlamov, in a tie with Roberto Luongo and Tomas Vokoun, and ahead of guys named Nicklas Backstrom, Carey Price, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Compare this to the Oilers' "starter", making 4 times as much as Dubnyk this year: Khabibulin has a 0.894 S%.
Dubnyk's played 14 games thus far season, which is a large enough amount to give some statistical significance to the numbers he's posted thus far. He's got all the raw skills to be better than Khabibuliin - great size, patience, positioning, and reflexes - and right now it seems that he's usurped the veteran goaltender in performance as well.
At the beginning of the season I was a huge proponent for the Oilers targetting young hotshot goaltenders in backup roles around the league, looking for the next potential starter (eg. Michal Neuvirth, Anders Lindback). But Dubnyk's made a believer out of me, and I think it'll be interesting to see how he performs in the last half of the season.