Devan Dubnyk resurrected his career with the Wild in 2015. Now the 34-year-old goaltender will try to do the same thing with the San Jose Sharks.
In a move that has been in the works for the past week, the Wild finally pulled the triggered Monday, sending Dubnyk and a seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft to the Sharks in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft.
In other words, this was more or less a salary dump for the Wild, who according to The Athletic, will retain half of Dubnyk’s salary for next season. That means the Wild will be responsible for roughly a $2.2 million cap hit.
“I want to thank Devan and his family for all the years they put in here,” Guerin said. “He’s a great guy. He’s a good goalie. He’s got a great family. They have contributed a lot here on and off the ice and I know they are going to have success in San Jose.”
“As for the move, it is part of the change that’s going on here,” Guerin added. “We need to go in a different direction. We had some very good and open conversations that last little while and in the end I just think that this is best for the Minnesota Wild.”
This move marks the end of a career renaissance in the Twin Cities that won’t soon be forgotten.
After being acquire about a month before the 2015 trade deadline, Dubnyk started 38 straight games to lead the Wild on a magical run to the playoffs. He boasted a 27-9-2 record in that span to go along with a 1.78 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
That offseason the Wild rewarded Dubnyk with a six-year, $26 million extension. He proved to be a bargain for most of the contract, emerging as a top-tier goaltender in the league, and leading the Wild to the playoffs on multiple occasions.
“That was a good run for them (and) something that resurrected Devan’s career and he got the team on the right track,” Guerin said. “He had some good years here and he was a good player for this organization for a long time.”
That said, Dubnyk’s play slowly started to decline, and he struggled immensely last season with a 12-15-2 record, a 3.35 goals-against average, and a .890 save percentage. He eventually got passed by backup goaltender Alex Stalock on the depth chart.
That move came hours after the Wild also traded winger Ryan Donato to the Sharks for a third-round pick in the 2021 draft.
After making a good first impression a couple of seasons ago after the Wild acquired him near the trade deadline, the 24-year-old Donato eventually lost his spot in the lineup.
The trade offers a fresh start for Donato, who despite finishing last season with 23 points (14 goals, 9 assists), was going to have a hard time cracking the Wild lineup with the arrival of top prospect Kirill Kaprizov. He originally was acquired from the Boston Bruins in exchange for former fan favorite Charlie Coyle.
“We actually had a great conversation this morning and part of that was discussing fit,” Guerin said. “We had a hard time getting Ryan in and putting him in the positions that he needed to be in. I think he’s going to get that opportunity in San Jose and I know they think highly of them. It was just kind of an in between role for Ryan and it was better for his career to get a fresh start somewhere else.”
As for what the Wild plan to do between the pipes, it sounds like Guerin might have something else in the works. He called it “unusually large goalie market” and kept using the phrases like “the next couple of days” while talking to reporters, suggesting he doesn’t plan to roll with Stalock and unproven rookie Kaapo Kahkonen next season.
A feasible option could be Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who was recently passed by fellow goaltender Robin Lehner on the depth chart, and would make sense as a potential stopgap if the Wild want to give Kahkonen some time to develop.
“We are going to try to address it as soon as we can,” Guerin said. “We still have a few more days to free agency. We are doing what we can homework wise and learning all the possibilities. It’s a very important position and it’s something w are definitely looking to add to.”