Columnist image
Frank Seravalli

TSN Senior Hockey Reporter

|Archive

SUNRISE, Fla. — Devan Dubnyk's confidence never wavered.

He said earlier in the week that he wanted to remain with the Minnesota Wild. He said he wasn't allowing the thought of playing for another team to enter his mind, even though days were peeling off the calendar and other teams could begin courting him.

He also said he wanted his next deal to be fair.

Maximizing his somewhat limited earning window, Dubnyk agreed to a six-year, $26 million contract extension with the Wild as the draft concluded on Saturday.

His salary cap hit will be $4.33 million per season.

Dubnyk, 29, was ranked No. 1 on TSN's Top 30 unrestricted free agent list. The Wild also signed the No. 2 available free agent, Mike Reilly, who decided on Minnesota on Friday. Dubnyk never even made it to market - and only maybe two teams (San Jose and Calgary) are still searching for a starting goaltender.

Dubnyk's agent, Mike Liut, was able to close the long-term deal after a flurry of different offers.

According to sources, one proposal floated by Liut was an eight-year deal, the max term allowed for players re-signing with their club. The Wild were more interested in keeping the yearly salary cap number reasonable.

Dubnyk will become the 21st-highest paid goaltender in the NHL next season by cap hit.

"It's a market contract," Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told reporters. "If you look at the Top 20 goalies in terms of salary, I don't know if any of them have less than five years. Believe me, we've analyzed this to death. We've looked at it every which way and we're very comfortable with the analytics behind this signing.

Fletcher said Dubnyk is "entering the prime of his career." A big motivator for getting the deal done was that the Wild's goaltending has been in such flux of late. They've never had a true "franchise goaltender" in Minnesota; Josh Harding and Nik Backstrom have split the duties even going all the way back to 2006-07.

"We're not asking him to duplicate what he did this year every year," Fletcher said. "Maybe that's not realistic, but we believe he can be a real good goaltender in this league. He's right at the stage in his career where he's ready to take off."

Fletcher said Dubnyk exceeded his expected save percentage in all of his seasons in Edmonton. He bounced around last season from Edmonton to Nashville to the AHL before signing in Arizona last July 1 for $800,000. He will earn nearly 33 times that much over the life of his new contract. That's what a Vezina-caliber season will get you.

"I don't think it's an unreasonable number for what he's done," Fletcher said. "The cap number will work very well for us and the term is wha he was hoping to get. It's a fair contract."

Frank Seravalli joins TSN.ca this week from the Philadelphia Daily News, where he covered the Flyers for six seasons. He can be reached at frank.seravalli@bellmedia.ca.