Devan looks to the future

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Devan Dubnyk is smart enough to figure out that when four good people compete for two jobs, a couple of worthy candidates are going to be out of luck. Dubnyk, the Edmonton Oilers' first pick in the 2004 Entry Draft and CHL scholastic player of the year last season, is also adept enough at stopping pucks to get another crack at Team Canada for the 2006 World Junior Championship.

That's an opportunity Kevin Nastiuk of the Medicine Hat Tigers, cut from Team Canada's roster with Dubnyk and seven other hopefuls Thursday, won't have.

The same goes for Jeff Glass of the Kootenay Ice and Rejean Beauchemin of the Prince Albert Raiders, who got the nod between the pipes for this edition of the tournament. All three of Dubnyk's WHL counterparts are done in terms of eligibility after this season.

While that's a silver lining instead of a shot at a gold medal, it's what Dubnyk took with him as he packed up his equipment and disappointment and jetted out of Winnipeg Thursday to rejoin the Kamloops Blazers this weekend.

Cold comfort, at least right now.

"I'm still kind of trying to handle it,'' Dubnyk said. "Disappointing is an understatement.

"You know there's four good goaltenders there, but you always go to these camps with the intention of making it. When you don't, it doesn't feel good.''

Dubnyk, 18 - selected 14th overall by the Oilers - Nastiuk, Glass and Beauchemin had just three days to convince coaches Brent Sutter, Peter DeBoer and Jim Hutton they deserved tickets to Grand Forks.

The foursome split duties in three games played between teams made up of Team Canada candidates and players from the University of Manitoba. Beauchemin, who had the inside track after a summer camp in August, and Glass were, it turns out, more convincing.

"For myself, I thought I played pretty well,'' said Dubnyk. "You want to give yourself a chance and, obviously, you want to make it, but I think you also have to take as much from the camp as you can.''

Dubnyk, the lone 18-year-old in the goaltending mix, started the first of three camp games and gave up one goal in a 3-1 win. On Wednesday he started the third game and gave up three goals in a 6-3 victory.

It's the second game - Dubnyk got caught chasing a puck behind the net on a play Ryan Stone of the Brandon Wheat Kings scored on in a 4-2 loss - that was his undoing.

The safe play would've been for the six-foot-five Dubnyk to stay in the net, but the right play was to handle the puck. His gaffe made highlight reels across the country.

"I felt really good the whole game, then something like that happens. It was a miscue, but you have to play how you play. Getting that puck was my first instinct.''

Dubnyk, who faced Prince George Friday with a 10-16-2-2 record, a 2.68 goals-against average and .907 saves percentage, had seen action in 30 of 34 games with the Blazers when he left for Winnipeg.

"This will do nothing but help him,'' said Oilers' chief scout Kevin Prendergast. "It's like another notch on his belt, and don't forget, he can go back next year.''

Right now, getting right back at it is something of a blessing for the lanky Calgarian.

"There is next year,'' mused Dubnyk, who will be home for Christmas when Team Canada opens against Slovakia. "For now, I just want to get back into things.''


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