With Dubnyk struggling, Wild need to find a better backup
Is Devan Dubnyk feeling a little burnt out?
The starting netminder for the Minnesota Wild has taken on a busy workload this season, and that could be contributing to his recent dip in performance.
In his past 13 outings, dating back to Dec. 29, Dubnyk has allowed more than three goals in eight games. He allowed four in three of those matches and five in a defeat to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.
Over the stretch, Dubnyk's save percentage has sagged to .900, while his GAA has climbed to 2.84. Compare it to the first part of the season and the difference is staggering. Through the first 27 games of 2016-17, Dubnyk owned a .947 save rate and a sparking 1.58 GAA.
It's a different workload for Dubnyk with the Wild, on pace for 64 games after taking on 67 a year ago. Upon his arrival to Minnesota during the 2014-15 campaign, Dubnyk played all but one game down the stretch, making 39 appearances. He's also played 16 playoff games over the last two years.
You can't blame Wild coach Bruce Boudreau for regularly relying on Dubnyk, with backup Darcy Kuemper contributing subpar performances when he's been called upon. While Kuemper has come away with the win in four of his past six starts, it hasn't been without difficulty, as he's allowed four goals on three of those occasions, posting a bloated 3.00 GAA over the stretch.
It's a stark contrast from a year ago, when Kuemper proved reliable in 21 games, earning a .915 save percentage and 2.43 GAA. The 26-year-old was once a trusted No. 2 but his drop off in play has left few options for Boudreau.
Cap space is tight in Minnesota, but the team should consider investigating a reliable second stringer prior to the March 1 trade deadline. Without doing so, the Wild risk putting their best season in franchise history at stake.
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