Despite the availability of goaltending out on the free agent and particularly on the trade markets, the Edmonton Oilers stood pat with their situation in net, adding a backup goaltender in Jason LaBarbera, but choosing to allow Devan Dubnyk to remain the unquestioned starter.
Which is the right decision. He’s shown flashes of being among the better goaltenders in the league, with the right type of defense in front of him. With an improved team, consistency in his starts, and a completely healthy season, he could be in line for a career year in 2013-14.
Dubnyk is coming off of the best season of his career, starting 37 of 48 games for the Oilers. He posted a .920 save percentage and a 2.57 goals against average, each of which represented a career mark for him. His two shutouts were his third consecutive season with the same amount.
The Oilers did improve the team in front of him, adding Andrew Ference, who will help to solidify the blue line and provide leadership for the younger players, meaning that their team defense as a whole could be much improved. Which could mean big things for Dubnyk.
Those big things could come in terms of his on ice performance, and his wallet. Dubnyk is set to become a free agent after the season. Meaning he’s going to need a big year to establish himself as the franchise goaltender in Edmonton. If he does that, he could see a big pay raise in the next year.
Dubnyk is currently carrying a $3.5 million cap hit. He could see that jump up a couple million, perhaps even nearly double with a strong performance. The opportunity is there for him heading into the new season; it’s going to be up to him to take advantage of it.