Devon Dubnyk’s dubious performance last night made me question more than ever the Oilers goaltending situation. For the most part, I have liked Dubnyk and thought that he was developing at a nice pace and I actually thought that this would be the year he rose to the challenge. It is a contract year for him and with a new system in front of him and a more solid D corps I really thought the massive backstop would rise to the occasion. We are only one game in, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. One text message I got last night from a friend who is a very accomplished Div. 16 Beer League goaltender summed it up nicely: “I feel like Dubnyk doesn’t battle. He’s just big.”
This caused me to mutter out loud: “Eakins will start LaBarbera on Saturday.” Now, I don’t have any insider information but, Eakins seems to be the kind of guy that holds people accountable. I don’t see why that shouldn’t extend to the crease. After sleeping on it, I thought I should look into LaBarbera a little more. I have always wondered why he hadn’t gotten a chance as an NHL starter and wanted to check his stats to see if this was really the case.
|2000–01||New York Rangers||NHL||1||0||0||0||10||0||0||0||1|
|2000–01||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||4||1||1||0||156||12||0||4.61||0.87|
|2001–02||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||20||7||11||1||1058||55||0||3.12||0.91|
|2002–03||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||46||18||17||6||2452||105||2||2.57||0.92|
|2003–04||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||59||34||9||9||3393||90||13||1.59||0.94|
|2003–04||New York Rangers||NHL||4||1||2||0||198||16||0||4.85||0.82|
|2004–05||Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL||53||31||16||2||2937||90||6||1.84||0.93|
|2005–06||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||29||11||9||2||1433||69||1||2.89||0.9|
|2007–08||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||45||17||23||2||2421||121||1||3||0.91|
|2008–09||Los Angeles Kings||NHL||19||5||8||4||995||47||2||2.83||0.89|
I have always wondered how star AHL players can’t make the transition to the big leagues and have a meaningful impact. I mean, LaBarbera is a decorated AHL vet and during the 2004-2005 lockout was the league’s best goaltender, posting a 1.84 GAA and a .934 save %. I thought to myself, self, maybe he just hasn’t gotten a chance. But, when looking at the statistics above, we have a large enough sample size to satisfyingly say that he just isn’t a major league goaltender. He played enough games for the Kings between 2005 and 2009 to accurately say he has been given a chance. It looks as though he is nothing more than a solid back up with no ability to carry the mail for a team over the course of a full schedule.
In Dubnyk we trust…….I guess…………