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Dubnyk Meets With Subban, Shares Similar Experience

Wild goaltender also had inauspicious beginning to NHL career

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Before establishing himself as one of the better goaltenders in the National Hockey League, Minnesota Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk went through his fair share of tough times.

His struggles during the 2013-14 season, one that started in Edmonton and included a pair of trades and with Dubnyk finishing the season in the American Hockey League, have been well documented. 

He settled for a small, one-year contract with Arizona, was fantastic as a backup there before being traded to the Wild midseason and having one of the best runs by a goalie in recent memory, earning himself a contract -- and a home -- in Minnesota.

But Dubnyk's indoctrination into the NHL was no easier. 

As a rookie with the Oilers, Dubnyk posted a 3.57 goals against average and a .889 save percentage. He allowed 14 goals over his first three starts that season.

Yet here he is, still playing at a high level in the midst of his eighth NHL season.

That was the message he relayed to Boston Bruins rookie goaltender Malcolm Subban following Minnesota's 5-0 win at TD Garden on Tuesday.

Subban, on emergency recall from the AHL because of injuries to Boston's top two goaltenders, started and allowed three goals on 16 shots before being pulled by Bruins coach Claude Julien.

For Subban, it was his second start in NHL, but it went the same as his first two seasons ago -- when he was yanked after allowing three goals on six shots in a period and a half of action.

By any measure, a tough way to start your NHL career.

"I know what that feels like," Dubnyk said. "It just feels like the world is going to end. It's hard to describe, but it's not a good feeling. It's something that I've experienced."

After the game Tuesday, in the bowels of the arena, Dubnyk sought out Subban to share that exact message. 

The two have a relationship; Dubnyk helped out Team Canada's goaltenders at World Junior Camp in 2012. Subban went on to play in six games that year for Canada at the World Junior Championships.

Now 22 years old, Subban is trying to find his way in professional hockey. Dubnyk wanted to provide him with some extra support. 

"I gave him the rundown of the start to my career, which was a whole lot worse than his start," Dubnyk said. "Not that it would make him feel better, but more to just let him know that he has a long career ahead of him and to keep working. It probably didn't help. But I've been through that exact same situation at the start of my career and it wasn't fun.

"It seems like that is going to be such a big deal, but at the end of the day, it's two half games. Those two games, as much as they feel [bad] right now, they're going to be such a small blip in his career. It'll be a story to tell. Maybe he can talk to somebody one day, too."

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