The last year has been a roller coaster ride for Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. A year ago he was trying to get his career back on track while trying to stop pucks in the minors, now he finds himself about to start his 35th consecutive game as the NHL's hottest team's top goaltender.
There are many things that Dubnyk can be proud of over the last 12 months, but on Thursday he earned another one.
The Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) announced that Dubnyk has been nominated for the National Hockey League's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The 28-year-old Dubnyk is riding high now. He is 26-6-1 with a 1.70 GAA, and .939 save percentage since being traded to the Wild. He has five shutouts, two assists and 34 straight starts and has also set new career highs in games played, wins, shutouts and assists.
But things haven't always come that easily for Dubnyk. In fact, the Star Tribune's Michael Russo calls Dubnyk's turnaround the greatest comeback story in the NHL this season – and it's pretty hard to argue.
Last season, for example, he bounced around three different teams. He played in 32 games with the Edmonton Oilers, two games with the Nashville Predators then finished the season playing eight games with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.
As you might imagine, Dubnyk struggled, posting a 3.43 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage. Things started to turn around for him when he was given one more opportunity with Arizona and had played well in limited playing time, that was before the Wild came calling.
Since the trade on Jan. 14, Dubnyk has started every game in net for Minnesota.
"It's been crazy," Dubnyk told the Pioneer Press. "It feels like last year was so long ago now."
The winner of the Masterton Trophy will be announced at the end of the regular season and is chosen in a poll of all 30 chapters of the PHWA. It was fist presented in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton of the Minnesota North Stars, who died on Jan. 15, 1968, of head injuries suffered in a game.
While several members of the Wild have been nominated for the award, only Josh Harding (2013) has won it. He became the first player in franchise history to win a voted-on NHL Award.