It was a tough day for the Wild’s Devan Dubnyk tweets Sportsnet’s John Shannon, who allowed the game-winning overtime goal to Magnus Paajarvi in today’s Game 5. The veteran goaltender, who is coming off a great 2016-17 season, yielded four goals in what turned out to be their season-ending game. To make matters worse, Dubnyk, who was a candidate to be a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this year, was not selected. The NHL announced their finalists today as Washington Capitals’ Braden Holtby, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price.
Still, the 30-year-old Dubnyk remains a cornerstone for the franchise after finishing the season, having played 65 games with a 2.25 GAA and a .925 save percentage. He is also locked up contractually until the 2020-21 season.
The team should be expected to contend for another few years as they also have the core of their team locked up for the next few years behind veterans Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and defenseman Ryan Suter. The team’s youth is also ripening with solid seasons from Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and defenders Jared Spurgeon, Mathew Dumba and Jonas Brodin.
The team may have some tough decisions for the upcoming expansion draft. The veteran team is sure to lose a quality player, and must contend with the No Movement Clauses of Koivu, Pominville, Parise and Suter. That leaves only a handful of spots left, depending on which path the Wild chooses to take. Tough decisions will have to be made about several players, including Jason Zucker, Erik Haula, Chris Stewart as well as veteran Eric Staal, who went down during Game 5. Even young defensemen like Brodin and Dumba could be exposed as well.
The team only has a handful of unrestricted free agents, namely Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, both acquired at the trade deadline from Arizona to help with their playoff run. The team must decide if they want or able to being one or both veterans back to the team next season.
- One consequence to the Wild’s ouster in the playoffs will benefit the Arizona Coyotes. When Minnesota traded for Hanzal and White at the trade deadline, the team sent their 2017 first-round pick, a 2018 second-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019 as well as prospect Grayson Downing. To the Wild’s benefit, that 2019 conditional fourth-rounder will remain a fourth-rounder. However, the series loss will allow the Coyotes to get a better pick than they had expected. The Wild at the time of the trade had the top record in the Western Conference and many figured that the pick would land in the high 20’s. Now the Wild could be handing a pick as early as No. 23 to the Coyotes for Hanzal and White, who are both unrestricted free agents in the offseason.
- Blues head coach Mike Yeo said he has no special feelings about beating the Wild, the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season. “It’s not about me. I’ve been sincere when I’ve said that. I don’t think that what I’m feeling right now would be any different if it was any other team.”