Wild general manager Bill Guerin made it clear in his postseason video conference that he wasn’t pleased with the team’s goaltending and that changes could be coming. Two months later, Guerin appears to be close to backing up his words.
Devan Dubnyk, who has spent most of five-plus seasons as the Wild’s top goalie, could be headed to the San Jose Sharks, according to reports by Michael Russo and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic. Russo reported this week that it was looking possible that Dubnyk and winger Ryan Donato could be traded to the Sharks. LeBrun reported that the Dubnyk and Donato discussions between Guerin and Sharks general manager Doug Wilson were separate and that the Dubnyk trade was on the front burner.
As you can see in LeBrun’s below tweet, there is nothing blocking the Wild from sending Dubnyk to the Sharks, but Wilson wants to make sure that the veteran goalie would be OK with leaving Minnesota.
San Jose is not on Devan Dubnyk's 10-team No-trade list (10 teams he can't be traded to). So the Wild are free and clear to deal him to San Jose if they wish. But I do think San Jose wants to make sure Dubnyk is comfortable with the move before both teams take it further.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 3, 2020
The Sharks could back off of Dubnyk, according to LeBrun, because San Jose also is considering free agent Braden Holtby and James Reimer to serve as a “1B” goalie behind Martin Jones. Reimer has one season left on his contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Wild finished the regular season 24th in goals given up and 29th in save percentage, and Dubnyk’s struggles led to backup-turned-No. 1 goalie Alex Stalock starting all four of the Wild’s playoff games in their opening round loss to Vancouver in the NHL’s return to play in August.
Dubnyk, 34, went 12-15-2 with a 3.35 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in 30 games and 28 starts. That made it easily his worst season with the Wild since he was acquired from Arizona in January 2015 for a third-round pick and single-handedly led Minnesota to the playoffs. Dubnyk had a rough season off the ice as well, missing about a month to be with his wife, who was dealing with a medical issue.
Even if he trades Dubnyk, Guerin will have some decisions to make about his goaltending situation. Will Stalock return as the backup? Will Kaapo Kahkonen, named the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for 2019-20 while playing for the Wild’s minor league affiliate in Iowa, be given a chance to start or could he replace Stalock?
Russo reported the Wild have shown interest in Marc-Andre Fleury, who almost certainly will be traded by Las Vegas, and Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, a former member of the Wild. Fleury has two seasons and $12.5 million of base salary coming over the next two seasons, but the 35-year-old could be seen as the ideal mentor for Kahkonen.