Goalie pick 'em: Crawford or Dubnyk?
Which goalie would you rather have, regardless of the team in front of them: Corey Crawford or Devan Dubnyk?
Emily Kaplan: I was actually at the Chicago Blackhawks–Minnesota Wild game on Thursday night, although I promise recency bias (or a tiny sample size) won’t dictate my answer. The question asks to alienate the goalie from the team around them, and although Crawford, 32, certainly has a stellar cast in Chicago, I believe Dubnyk, 31, benefits greatly from coach Bruce Boudreau’s system. Consistency is my premium. While Dubnyk has found stride with Minnesota — a 9.24 save percentage through two and a half seasons — his most promising year was his most recent. He has played for five teams and has been traded three times. Crawford has been a steady winner for the Blackhawks since his rookie year, in 2010, earning at least 30 wins in every full season. Oh, and he has won two Stanley Cups. I’m not saying Dubnyk might not have a better season, but if I’m starting a team from scratch, Crawford gets my call.
Chris Peters: This is a fascinating question and way harder than I figured it would be to answer. It is pretty amazing how close these two goaltenders have been by the numbers in recent years. While Crawford has had the more accomplished career with the two Cups, Dubnyk has been a force since he joined the Wild. Since this is a question about who you’d rather have right now, there are so many other factors to consider. Dubnyk, coming off the 5-2 win Thursday night, is a year and a half younger than Crawford and had the better raw numbers last season. The Wild netminder has seen his career blossom with Minnesota, with a .924 save percentage in 172 games heading into Thursday night. There’s little to suggest he won’t be able to sustain this level of play. But we’ve got a bit of a longer track record with Crawford, who remains underrated despite having strong numbers — and those Cups. Interestingly enough, heading into Thursday night’s game, Dubnyk and Crawford had the same save percentage at even strength (.931) since 2014-15. The only goalie ahead of them in that category over that span is Carey Price (.938). Because these two are so close in so many ways, and both continue to play at a high level, I’d lean very slightly toward Crawford because of the longer track record of success, particularly in the playoffs.