(Corrected salary, updated with Dubnyk quotes on bottom)
Devan Dubnyk got his security. The Wild got its fair cap hit.
After three days of heavy-duty negotiation, the Wild has agreed to terms with the goaltender on a six-year, $26 million deal, sources say. That's a $4.33 million cap hit, making Dubnyk the 21st-highest paid goaltender in the game. He makes $5 million each of the first four years, $3.5 million and $2.5 million the last two. There is a limited no-trade clause for part of the deal.
"Like I said from the outset, he’s been very clear that he wanted to remain in Minnesota and we’ve been adamant about trying to keep him," GM Chuck Fletcher said. "We’ve been chasing stability in the goaltending position and we’re hopeful that Devan can be a steadying influence back there."
The deal almost certainly makes young goalie Darcy Kuemper expendable at some point. But at a $1.25 million salary and the Wild in the need of a backup this year, the time to trade Kuemper could come later in the season or next summer.
That's conjecture from me. Fletcher says he hopes the Wild has a good "1-2 punch for the next several years."
On the risk of giving Dubnyk such term after half a season of great play, Fletcher said, "He’s 29 years old. He’s entering the prime of his career. He’s had some good seasons in Edmonton and had a great season this year. We’re not asking him to duplicate what he did this year every year. Maybe that’s not realistic, but we believe he can be a good goaltender in this league. He's right at the stage of his career where he's ready to take off."
More on the term, Fletcher said, "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. It’s a market contract. The salary will put him somewhere between the top-23 and 24 goalies in the league. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable number for what he’s done. It’s a fair contract. The cap number will work very well for us and the term is what he was hoping to get. That’s the compromises you make."
Fletcher said, "His numbers have been above average to good for four of his six seasons." He said he always outperformed what should have been his expected save percentage in Edmonton.
"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.
Mikael Granlund's deal isn't done. The two sides didn't have a chance to really work at it today because of Rounds 2-7 of the draft and Fletcher meeting with agent Mike Liut.
It's clear Fletcher is getting frustrated though: "It’s very close. It’s close. We’ll see if we can’t close the gap. If [agent Todd Diamond] just gets a little bit more reasonable, we’ll get it done."
Cut and paste Dubnyk quotes from my phone interview with him:
"It’s been pretty surreal."
On where he was last year til now: "It’s pretty unbelievable to think about and this is to top it all off, I guess. The contract I was looking for. It was nice to be dealing in a situation where I knew they wanted me and I wanted to be there. We were able to make something work that we’re both very happy with."
"The most exciting thing for me is knowing I get to be part of a really good hockey team for a long time. Getting a chance to play with that group of guys last year was the best experience for me. I’m real excited."
On wanting to make sure the Wild had a good cap number for the future: "I understand the situation they’re in for cap space. The way we won was as a group. It was important to keep that group together. There was no point in trying to break that group apart just for something a little extra. They worked with me and gave me some term that I’m happy and we got a number that we’re both quite happy with."
On can he replicate what he did this second half: "It was nothing crazy, nothing extravagant. I’m a pretty simple goalie the way I play. The way we played as a group, there weren’t any miracles happening out there. We were playing the right way and for myself it was just being simple and strong and keeping goals tight. I wasn’t doing back flips out there and doing stuff that I’m not capable of continuing to do.
"I’m only 29 years old. I’m fully planning on continuing to get better as I go here."
"I can't wait to get back around the guys. Now I’ve got to sit around and wait. All this excitement in one week and I’ve still got three months to go."
I am under the gun to write with our early Saturday deadlines and a flight I have to catch. I will be back later probably from the air with stuff on the draft and a depth chart for you to look at as the Wild heads into free agency.