With Darcy Kuemper still injured, Josh Harding not an option because of multiple sclerosis and Niklas Backstrom, who has allowed 30 goals in his past eight starts, having given up six goals during Tuesday’s 7-2 loss at Pittsburgh, General Manager Chuck Fletcher traded a third-round pick to Arizona for Devan Dubnyk.
The hope is he can make his Wild debut Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres.
“He accepted his role and played very well,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of Dubnyk, who resurrected his career this season after a difficult 2013-14 in which he lost his job in Edmonton and was traded twice. “He was solid going about his business, giving his team a chance to win. Devan was a very good teammate.”
Dubnyk worked exclusively with Coyotes goalie coach Sean Burke, who has said Dubnyk improved his patience and positioning.
“We need to play better team defense in general, but I think adding another goaltender made a lot of sense,” Fletcher said. “He’s had a very good season in Arizona and four of his last five seasons his statistics are quite good and, at this point, we’re hoping he can deliver more of the same.
“We’re just looking for him to play the way he’s played in four of the last five years and we’ll go from there. And, hopefully, the competition will help, too.”
The Wild’s goaltending has been porous all season. It started with Harding breaking his foot before the season, then Kuemper starting to leak in the past six weeks. He has been pulled in five of his past seven home starts.
“That’s a position that’s always magnified,” Zach Parise said. “The way that position works, if you have an off-night it can unfortunately cost you the game easily, whereas, if you’re a forward and you have an off-night, you can blend in and do other things.
“There’s way more that happens before the puck gets to the net that can’t happen. … We’re making it pretty easy for the other team.”