Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Case: Khabibulin vs. Dubnyk vs. Danis

In this post, I'm going to look at the current goaltending situation. All three of these goaltenders will make a solid case to get the bulk of the games this year.

Nikolai Khabibulin:
Strengths - He has experience, tons of it, starters mentality. He faced a lot of shots early last year, which I believe led to his breakdown at the end of the year. He has veteran guile, I think he will go down fighting.
Weaknesses - Father Time is catching up to him and he has a lot of tread worn down on those tires. He looked slow to end the year, not sure if its because of age or fatigue, either way he should likely see a cutdown in games played this year.

Devan Dubnyk:
Strengths - Big body who makes saves seem effortless. Doesn't have to waste a lot of movement to play goal. Easily outplayed Khabibulin last year. The team has more confidence in him.
Weaknesses - Took him until April to get back to back wins. Usually follows his good games with a poor one, I personally think stamina is an issue, comes with being a bigger body. Has more of a makeup to be a solid backup than a starter.

Yann Danis:
Strengths - Technically sound goaltender. Always in position to make the save. Similar style to Martin Gerber who had success in limited action.
Weaknesses - Hasn't had a ton of success at the NHL or AHL level. History tells us he plays better when he plays less games, which tells us he might be a better backup than starter.

The verdict - All three of these goaltenders are going to struggle if they bulk of the work which means all three of them are likely to get an equal amount of action. Khabibulin is battling Father Time while Dubnyk battles stamina issues. There is a sliver of a crack for Danis to come in and steal the job but he is starting the race from a long way back. Khabibulin will be given every opportunity to prove himself while Dubnyk will get the 2nd crack at it. It will be a heavily scrutinized battle come training camp. Another goaltender could potentially come into the mix here.

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