Dubnyk excited about chance to play for a Stanley Cup conteder
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Devan Dubnyk had plenty of time to ponder his new lot in life Saturday during a six-hour drive from San Jose to Anaheim following his trade from the Sharks to the Avalanche, who play the Ducks on Sunday.
He’s gone from a team with an outside chance of making the playoffs to a Stanley Cup contender.
“It was a bit of a whirlwind yesterday when you get told and (you’re) trying to figure out your life a little bit,” Dubnyk said Sunday. “When I was sitting in the car it kind of hit me a little bit how great of an opportunity this is to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
“It was fun yesterday when it kind of hit me and (I) started to think about it and think about how exciting this opportunity is.”
The Avalanche acquired the 6-foot-6, 224-pound goalie for defenseman Greg Pateryn and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.
Dubnyk, 34, has a 3-9-2 record, 3.18 goals-against average and.898 save percentage this season. A 12-year NHL veteran, he had his best success with the Minnesota Wild, winning between 31 and 40 games in four of his six seasons there.
The Avalanche and Wild have been fierce rivals, and Dubnyk has been treated with disdain each time he’s played in Denver.
“It’s crazy to think of all the rowdy nights we had on the other side in Denver,” he said. “I’m excited to play in front of some home fans. I obviously haven’t had that opportunity this year, so it’s an exciting opportunity for me (to play) for one of the best teams in the league. I’ve been on the other side of the firepower at times, so it’s nice to be on the right side.”
Dubnyk was playing for the Wild when he and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog were involved in a memorable scrum at the Pepsi Center (now Ball Arena) on Nov. 6, 2016.
After Dubnyk was bumped at the top of the crease a couple of times while Landeskog battled with Jonas Brodin, Dubnyk gave Landeskog a whack in the back of the leg. Landeskog responded by pushing back, Dubnyk grabbed him, and they had a scuffle behind the net.
“It’s been good ever since we got a chance to meet each other at the All-Star Game,” Dubnyk said. “He texted me yesterday and that was one of the first things that was brought up, that little scuffle there.”
Dubnyk added while laughing: “I told him he better steer clear of me in practice because that could happen again.”
Dubnyk, who has a career 250-204-54 record with a 2.60 GAA, .914 save percentage and 33 shutouts, said he’s fine with being in a backup role with Jonas Johansson behind Philipp Grubauer.
“Grubi’s had an incredible year and he’s a great goalie, so you just come in and each opportunity you get you just want to go,” he said. “I’m just excited to go and play for this team. It’s obviously one of the best teams in the league, it’s an exciting opportunity.
“You just go in and work as hard as you can. Each opportunity you get, you want to earn a chance to start. Whether it’s the next game or soon after that, you just go in and earn it. You realize, like I said, Grubi’s had an incredible year and he’s been a big part of why this team is what they have done. I’m just going to come in and support him and enjoy it.”