Nashville Predators superstar goalie Pekka Rinne is still on the shelf thanks to hip surgery, so the team needed help in net something awful. Early rumors had them pursuing Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller. Instead, last week they traded for former Edmonton Oilers starter Devan Dubnyk. A quick look at the respective statistics for both goalies shows quite a steep drop-off from Hiller to Dubnyk, but still, Nashville added another player to their netminder platoon.
Well, Dubnyk had his Nashville debut last Saturday, and it didn’t exactly reassure the team they could survive without Rinne. The Preds lost to the Colorado Avalanche 5-4, with Dubnyk giving up all five goals. It was a performance that hardly screamed “Pekka who?”
Yesterday, Nashville coach Barry Trotz gave a review of his new goaltender, and to put it bluntly, it wasn’t a sound endorsement.
“He’s got to be a lot better,” Trotz said. “He’s a veteran player in the NHL. I felt that three of the five goals were very stoppable in this league.
“It wasn’t a great game for him, but at the same time it was his first game [for the Predators], his first trade, a new city, all of the above. We’re getting used to him. He’s getting used to us.”
Trotz also claimed the team was working to get rid of some “bad habits” Dubnyk picked up while playing with Edmonton. When you’re playing for one of the worst teams in hockey, as Dubnyk was with the Oilers, bad habits are bound to show up.
It was indeed just one game for Nashville’s latest acquisition, but while the sample size is small, the Predators goalie situation is looking no better now than it was before the trade. It would’ve been foolish to assume Dubnyk would be able to put up numbers looking anything like those of Renne, but you also can’t be too surprised at how rough the former Oiler looked for his new team. The fact is, Edmonton had started four different goalies this season at the time of the trade, and Dubnyk was far and away the worst of them. A change of scenery can only do so much, especially when you consider the goalie went from a 16th place team to a 12th place team.
Still, Nashville made this trade, and now they have to work with it. Again, it’s just one start, and it hardly means this deal is a failure. That said, Dubnyk needs to make a significant turnaround, and with the way his season has gone to this point, that’s a tall mountain to climb.