For the last few years, the Minnesota Wild has been in need of a franchise goalie, and it looks like the team might have found one in Devan Dubnyk
January put the â€œState of Hockeyâ€ back on the NHL map with the acquisition of Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes. At the time, Minnesota was eight points out of playoff contention, and the Stanley Cup seemed to be slowly slipping away from the Wild. Minnesota needed a quick solution to the point deficit and made the choice to start Dubnyk.
Once Dubnyk hit the ice in St. Paul, he became an instant success. His Wild debut against the Buffalo Sabres ended in a shutout victory for Minnesota. Not too long after, Dubnyk went on to start 38 straight games for the Wild finishing off the season with a 27-9-2 record for the Wild. For those 38 regular season games Dubnykâ€™s save percentage was a staggering .936 — one of the best in the league.
After the 2014-2015 NHL season, Dubnyk recorded the second highest save percentage in the league (.929), finishing just behind Montreal goalie Carey Price (.933).
The biggest challenge for Dunbyk going into the 2015-2016 season is filling his own shoes. The Wild needs him to live up to the hype because if he has another extraordinary season, then he will have finally cemented himself as the franchise goal tender for the Minnesota Wild.
His performance last year for Minnesota won him the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the player who exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport. Other recipients of the trophy over the years have been future hall of famer Teemu Selanne and recently retired Saku Koivu.
Although the Wild fell to Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2015 playpffs, the strong end to the season shows that Minnesota is a contender for â€˜15-â€™16. It has been years since the Wild has been a contender in the NHL standing, but with Dubnyk between the pipes, Minnesota will soon be able to proudly boast the title of the â€œstate of hockey.â€