November 15, 2014



Dubnyk starting to get attention, why Erixon makes a great waiver-wire pickup, and more …


We’re used to seeing hot starts out of Martin Hanzal, so this year was a bit of a surprise when he had just eight points 16 games into the season. A natural hat trick last night put him back on track – so yes, we’re still early enough in the campaign that a single game can fix almost all of the solo player stats that are out of whack. Hanzal played with Martin Erat and Tobias Rieder.

The most important thing to note about last night’s Arizona game – even more important than the fact that they scored five goals for just the third time all year – is Devan Dubnyk’s 35-save shutout. Mike Smith is off to one of his trademark slow starts, but usually his slow starts last about five games and by Game 10 his numbers look pretty good. But he’s played 13 games and his numbers still look horrible. Meanwhile, Dubnyk’s numbers look great. Take a look at the comparison:

Smith –    4-9-0, 3.43, 0.889

Dubnyk – 3-0-1, 2.54, 0.913

You can do a full goalie side-by-side comparison using this tool here. Smith is the Golden Boy (due to contract) and is given a lot of rope. Looking at the pattern of games, it’s pretty clear that he is given every start until he has a horrible one or has played five in a row. So what we need to watch for is if Dubnyk can cannibalize that over the next two months. If Dubnyk starts getting every fourth start, and then every third start, then you could see a shift in value. Similar to the situation with San Jose except Niemi isn’t playing as poorly as Smith, and Smith’s contract isn’t up in the summer – so different dynamics to that shift. But I’m always fascinated by the politics behind gradually changing over a team’s starting goaltender to the backup.