Well, the inevitable happened and Devan Dubnyk is no longer an Edmonton Oiler. How badly did the Oilers want this to happen? They wanted it to happen so badly that they took on Matt Hendricks, a fourth liner in the first year of a four year. Who is 32 years old. We’ve seen this movie before and talked about why multi-year deals for bottom six forwards in their thirties are a terrible idea.
Those are links to stuff about Eric Belanger and the attrition rate for bottom six forwards in their thirties; I could link to similar stuff about Ethan Moreau. The line between being an NHLer and an AHLer is faint and blurry for guys on that part of the roster at that age. Having them on four year deals is an amazingly poor idea. Edmonton fans have watched this play out before. I guess we’ll get to watch it play out again.
Generally when a team makes a bad deal, it’s because they’re in a spot where they perceive the alternative to making the deal as being extremely unpalatable. The Oilers didn’t want to embark upon a full blown rebuild in 2007, so they signed Dustin Penner and Sheldon Souray. The Oilers had a deal in place for Ben Scrivens and wanted the roster spot. Was there an alternative to taking on Matt Hendricks’ contract in order to get Dubnyk off the roster?
It seems to me that there was an obvious alternative: send Dubnyk to Oklahoma City. Sure, it stinks for Dubnyk’s career given that he’s probably looking to drag his save percentage above .900 before he becomes a free agent but then Dubnyk’s career is not the Oilers’ problem. If faced with a choice between what’s best for Dubnyk’s career and what’s best for the Oilers, the decision is simple: do what’s best for the Oilers. The Oilers went another way. At the end of the year he goes. The Oilers get nothing in return but then nothing trumps negative something. There are Hendricks’ available for very little every summer who don’t need four year deals at $1.85MM. The Oilers just ate a ton of risk that Hendricks won’t be able to play in the NHL in a year or two for no apparent reason.
As far as the rest of it goes, the writing was on the wall for Dubnyk since last summer. He was leaving and, given that I kind of think he’s a nice league average goalie who was caught in a nightmare in Edmonton this year, I’m happy that he’ll get a few months to rehabilitate his reputation in Nashville before moving on. He gave the Oilers three years of respectable goaltending on terrible teams and then this year happened. I’d bet on him helping someone next year. If the Predators are able to spin him to a team looking for goaltending help at the deadline, I’ll get a laugh.
Scrivens? He’s played reasonable well everywhere he’s been. I like teams identifying guys like this and rolling the dice on them. He’s a UFA at the end of the year although guys who have yet to make their names tend to be pretty happy to sign a one way deal if it’s offered to them. I’ve got no problems with the Oilers replacing Dubnyk with him in the longer term. I don’t think that doing this required that they eat David Poile’s mistake but then that seems to be the Oilers’ way. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org