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MOUNT ROYAL… Rumors have it that the UFA to be Devan Dubnyk camp is seeking a contract from the Minnesota Wild worth about $5mil per season. These rumors have not been accompanied by any speculation on what the term might be. Personally, I don’t see “Duby” as a $5mil per goaltender no matter what the term might be. There is little doubt that the Wild’s season was a sinking ship prior to Dubnyk’s arrival but I believe that he was partially helped out by playing for perhaps the best defensive club he has played on thus far in his National Hockey League career. And don’t get me wrong, Duby played some solid hockey in his Wild regular season stint.
However, I don’t believe his Wild body of work has established him as a tender’ worthy of that high of a dollar value contract. He has had some flashes in his career to be certain, and you have to factor into the equation that he did play on some pretty average clubs that hurt him statistically speaking. But then I have to be fair to the balance sheet of the team and consider that he had some rough outings in the playoffs. He had some high points, looked good against the STL Blues with a couple of bumps there as well, and looked pretty pedestrian versus the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawk’s. What I wish I had right now was a team breakdown tape of all goals scored against Duby in the playoffs. And sorry, but I don’t have time this week for a variety of reasons to dig them all up and chart them.
I do know from memory that the Hawks were going after his glove hand pretty hard. Glove hand, about 2/3rd of the net on up, and a foot in from the pipe. He got hammered on his 5 hole too. But as I have said before, preventing goals is a 6 man function and whatever sync the Wild had together in ousting the Blues from the tourney, seemed to diminish versus the Hawks. The whole group struggled against the Hawks. Having said that, I still think the team HAD it’s chances.
Whether Duby’s agent, former NHL goalie Mike Liut is willing to look at all angles, or firmly believes that he and his guy are in the drivers seat remains to be seen. I have heard nothing about Liut as an agent that portrays him as an unreasonable person in negotiations. But if he is and he is hard on that $5mil number, if I were Wild GM Chuck Fletcher I would start working a deal for NYR goalie Cam Talbot ASAP. Talbot is similar to Duby in that both guys were basically team saviors when injuries or poor play threatened to take down an entire season.
In the end I hope Duby and the team can work things out. What is it that’s workable? If Liut insists on the ‘5’ number, I would counter with a 2 year term and no more. The Wild are already in a Salary Cap corner to begin with. If they are willing to bend on the ‘5’ number I might offer up a 4 year term at $4mil to $4.5 per season. And that is still a crap shoot to an extent because we haven’t seen a full regular season from him with the Wild. Anyway, the fans love him, the team is very happy with him and wants him back, he really likes the organization and the Twin Cities and so does his wife and family, so what is not to like? Can we talk about that ’5’ number Dubes??
I HAVE ALWAYS BACKED off when it has come to criticizing the NHL over business matters and so forth. I have NOT been shy of verbalizing my contempt for the NFL for always seeking taxpayer handouts for stadium construction and the fact that they are a “non-profit, tax exempt” status organization. (yeah, right) But with the recent Arizona Coyotes news relative to a new Mayor, new City Council in Glendale voting to void the arena deal the league and the team thought they had in place, I have had to take a new look at that situation and rethink the leagues dealings as well.
The short of the long is that (the whole history would be a ten week-part epic) the two parties had a deal whereby the team would continue to be a tenant in what might become an otherwise vacant venue, and the City of Glendale would subsidize some of the teams financial losses as well as grant them a management deal to oversee operation of the arena. Was it a nicey-nice sweetheart deal for the club? Sure, but even with the help they may still lose money. Many involved citizens say that paying the team funds via their agreement is still better then the potential revenue losses if the club no longer existed there.
And then there is the whole location of the arena thing and if it’s the best and easiest place for fans to get to and so on. My feeling about that is that if you have a winner it doesn’t matter where the arena is, if you have a losing operation it is too easy for fans to say that the building is out of the way. And now it looks as if, since the days of the league itself running the franchise while seeking a suitable investor, that the team has had some sort of paper “ownership transfers”, and I am trying to ferret out what kind of financial advantage was gained there and if it came at the expense of the citizens of Glendale. I don’t know.
I have questioned my Phoenix nephew, Dude Elliott Junier’, on this and I am still trying to organize my train of thought on this matter. I am convinced that the league doesn’t want the team to vacate the market because of it’s value as a television ratings generator. The greater Phoenix area ranks 12th in the country and that equates to TV contract money. I will write about this over the summer when the crystal ball gains clarity! PEACE