Oilers throw Dubnyk to Sharks

DEREK VAN DIEST, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:43 PM ET

SAN JOSE — The numbers suggest he should have more starts this season.

And considering the Edmonton Oilers current plight, Devan Dubnyk will probably be spending more time in the crease.

On Tuesday, Dubnyk started his 12th game of the year, going up against the San Jose Sharks.

“He’s played well for us and I think it’s a function of knowing that he’s here and the he’s in a good backup position where he’s going to get some starts as suggested by his coaching staff,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “He feels good about that, I think he’s very confident and comfortable and because of that, I think he’s really trying to almost pay it forward.”

Dubnyk, 24, went into Thursday’s game with a 3-3-5 record with a 2.78 goals against average and .918 save percentage.

The last time he played in California, the Regina native turned aside 27 shots in a shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

With the Oilers essentially out of playoff race, Renney would not rule out the possibility of riding the young goaltender if he gets on a role.

“That has crossed my mind,” said Renney. “He’s no different than anybody else on our team that’s a young guy getting an opportunity to do what they can in succession, so I wouldn’t rule that out.”

Currently, the Oilers head coach has a formula for when to play Dubnyk, but that could change if Renney feels it’s warranted to alternate goaltenders every other night.

That strategy would give Dubnyk more than 30 games this season, an improvement on the 19 he played in last year.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming into the year,” said Dubnyk. “Obviously game-wise, you kind of set of goal. I thought 20 games wouldn’t be bad and considering the pace it was going a the start of the year, it looked like 15 games wouldn’t be bad. But 30-plus games would be awesome.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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