For the second day in a row, the Colorado Avalanche added another depth piece to their roster. The Avalanche acquired goalie Devan Dubnyk from the San Jose Sharks for defenceman Greg Pateryn and a 2021 fifth-round draft pick on Saturday. On Friday, they re-acquired Patrik Nemeth from the Detroit Red Wings for a fourth-round pick. The defenceman played with the club from 2017-19, and trading for him allowed Colorado to include Pateryn in the trade for Dubnyk.
Colorado adds much-needed depth in net, while the Sharks add a veteran defenceman. The two teams are trending in separate directions, as the Avalanche are Stanley Cup favourites with the post-season nearing, while the Sharks are fighting for the fourth seed in the West Division.
Avalanche Add Depth in Net
With Pavel Francouz out since the start of the season due to a lower-body injury, Philipp Grubauer has been forced to shoulder most of the team’s load in net. He has started in 32 of the Avalanche’s 40 games, posting an impressive 24-8-1 record, paired with his .919 save percentage (SV%) and 2.00 goals-against average (GAA). Colorado’s problems stem from their backup goaltenders, with Hunter Miksa starting in five games and posting a 1-1-2 record along with a .838 SV% and a 4.16 GAA.
Colorado tried to remedy their backup goalie problems on March 21st when general manager Joe Sakic traded for Jonas Johansson from the Buffalo Sabres. Johansson started three games, posting a 2-0-1 record with a .920 SV% and a 2.13 GAA. Although the 25-year-old has performed better than Miksa, his inexperience is likely a reason Sakic traded for Dubnyk.
Dubnyk Brings Veteran Experience
Dubnyk brings valuable playoff experience in net and has played in 26 games in the postseason throughout his career. Although he has struggled with his .898 SV% and 3.16 GAA through 17 games with the Sharks this season, he brings a veteran presence to Colorado.
“Devan brought the element of consummate professionalism and class to our dressing room in what has been an extremely unique and challenging season. He fit seamlessly within our group and helped mentor many of our younger players. We thank him for his contributions to our club on and off the ice this season and wish him the best in Colorado.”Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said about Dubnyk.
The 34-year-old will likely battle with Johannson to back up Grubauer throughout the remainder of the season. His best days as a starter are behind him as he has been on a steady decline since his career-best 2014-15 season when he posted .929 SV% and a 2.07 GAA. Dubnyk is set to become a free agent this offseason, as his six-year, $26 million deal will expire.
Colorado is likely not finished making trades as the team is without defenceman Erik Johnson, who is on long-term injured reserve, along with Francouz. The Avalanche have $4.4 million in cap space to work with, and since they’re a Cup favourite, there is a good chance they will use it to add more help for the postseason.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.