It’s been rumoured for a few days, but Devan Dubnyk to SJ is picking up steam.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 3, 2020
Per Friedman and Michael Russo, Ryan Donato may also be sent to the San Jose Sharks.
However, it might take some time for the train to arrive at the station. For starters, Devan Dubnyk has a 10-team no-trade list and his wife dealt with serious health issues during the season.
But there’s reason to believe this trade will happen. According to Pierre LeBrun, the Sharks have identified Dubnyk as their “top goalie target” this summer. He also clarified that San Jose is not on Dubnyk’s no-trade list.
San Jose is not on Devan Dubnyk's 10-team No-trade list (10 teams he can't be traded to). So the Wild are free and clear to deal him to San Jose if they wish. But I do think San Jose wants to make sure Dubnyk is comfortable with the move before both teams take it further.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 3, 2020
In short, there’s a will and there’s a way. The ball appears to be in Dubnyk’s court.
So who will the San Jose Sharks ship to Minnesota? On Thursday, Michael Russo said his feeling was the “return could be a high draft pick or a prospect.” Doug Wilson came out the next day and said he “would prefer not” to trade 2020 Draft picks for a goaltender:
Our Sheng Peng offered some trade candidates and added more context, including a full scouting report on Donato, as part of SJHN+. The NHL scout that Sheng spoke with wasn’t entirely complimentary of Donato:
This season, Dubnyk, 34, fell out of favor in Minnesota. He slumped to an abysmal .890 save percentage. It was Dubnyk’s sixth season in Minnesota and appears to be his last. After the season, Minnesota GM Bill Guerin bluntly told reporters he wanted more.
“I was disappointed in the goaltending this year. (Alex Stalock) had a tremendous year, and Devan had an off year. It needs to be better. That’s just the way it is. If I told you anything different, I’d be lying to you,” Guerin said on August 11th, after the Vancouver Canucks dismissed Minnesota from the NHL postseason in four games.
Dubnyk has one more season with a $4.33 million cap hit left on his six-year contract.
Through his 11-year NHL career, Dubnyk has an impressive .915 save percentage and a 247-195-52 record. The 6-foot-6 goalie has escaped the first round of the playoffs only once in his career, however, in 2014-15.
He did garner Hart Trophy votes (fourth) in 2014-15. That season, Minnesota acquired Dubnyk from Arizona and he posted a .937 save percentage and a jaw-dropping 1.78 goals against average. He also finished third in Vezina Trophy voting.
Dubnyk again finished fifth in Vezina Trophy voting in 2016-17, but he hasn’t received a Vezina vote or an All-Star nomination since.
Last season, former Wild GM Paul Fenton acquired Donato as part of the Charlie Coyle-to-Boston deal. This year, Donato had 23 points (14g, 9a) in 63 games. He’s not the smoothest skater, nor has he capitalized on his offensive potential.
Donato, 24, has played only 130 NHL games.
If majority opinion is reflected in the responses to Friedman’s original tweet, fans around the league think Minnesota is adding by subtracting.
However, the San Jose Sharks do have a need in goal. This season, starter Martin Jones continued his prolonged slump; he’s posted .896 save percentages in each of the past two seasons.
Dubnyk could be a key member of a re-imagined San Jose Sharks. Wilson believes the team’s struggles will be short-lived as Erik Karlsson returns to full health.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.