After injuries to their top two goaltenders derailed the Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs last year, they’re loading up on depth in net in hopes of making a deep run this season.
Colorado acquired veteran goaltender Devan Dubynk from the San Jose Sharks on Saturday in exchange for defenceman Greg Pateryn and a fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft. Dubnyk and March trade pickup Jonas Johansson give the NHL-leading Avalanche some insurance in net behind starter Philipp Grubauer, with their sights set on the Stanley Cup.
"We saw last year how important goalie depth is in the playoffs," coach Jared Bednar said. "To be able to acquire the two guys that we’ve acquired here recently, I think it just makes our team deeper and stronger."
Dubnyk, 34, has 26 games of Stanley Cup playoff experience during his career, all with Minnesota. This season, he has a 3.18 goals-against average and .898 save percentage for struggling San Jose.
"Devan brought the element of consummate professionalism and class to our dressing room in what has been an extremely unique and challenging season," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "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."
Dubnyk and Pateryn are set to become free agents after this season. Colorado acquired Pateryn earlier this season in a salary-shedding deal that sent defenceman Ian Cole to Minnesota.
The Avalanche have made two trades in two days after acquiring defenceman Patrik Nemeth from Detroit for a fourth-round pick on Friday. Nemeth spent two seasons with Colorado from 2017-19 and provides some defensive experience with Erik Johnson injured and expected to miss the rest of the regular season.
"To have that defender is super important," said captain Gabriel Landeskog, who played youth hockey with Nemeth back home in Sweden. "He’s going to be big for us. He’s always good at blocking shots and great on the (penalty kill), so he’ll be well-received back in the locker room."
The Avalanche’s 58 points through 40 games are the most in the league and have them four up on Vegas for first place in the West Division.
Grubauer has been at the centre of that success. He leads the league with 24 victories and has a 1.87 GAA and .922 save percentage in 33 games but has never played in more than 37 games during a regular season in his NHL career.
"We know that we want to give Grubi some rest," Bednar said. "For the stretch run and heading into the playoffs, we want to make sure he’s rested and healthy. He’s obviously our No. 1, and the goalie depth is real important."
Colorado GM Joe Sakic may not be done dealing. With Johnson and goalie Pavel Francouz on long-term injured reserve and even without San Jose retaining any of Dubnyk’s salary, the Avalanche have $4.4 million more in space to use before the deadline Monday afternoon.
"I think it’s important that our guys see that the organization is supporting them," Bednar said. "We recognize that the guys have had a real good year here. We’re in a real good spot for the stretch run, and if we can make some adds that will help us long term, whether big or small, we’re open to doing that."