But this week, Wild fans hope for a change to the traditional phrase, as Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk looks to bring some hardware back to Minnesota. The Calgary native is a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy at Wednesday's NHL Awards ceremony at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas.
While talk of trophies is expected at the ceremony, Dubnyk’s media availability Tuesday in Las Vegas was, not surprisingly, dominated by contract talk. A soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, Dubnyk reiterated that he wants to remain with State Of Hockey’s team and hopes to get a contract finalized with the Wild.
“I had the most fun playing hockey I ever had in my career,” Dubnyk said of his time with Wild after joining the team Jan. 14 in a trade from Arizona. “The fans are great; the city is great; the guys are great — everything was awesome.”
As Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said Monday, the club is still very much focused on trying to sign Dubnyk.
“That’s certainly a priority of ours, to try to lock him up,” Fletcher said. “Like any pending unrestricted free agent, he will control where he goes and that’s his right, and he’s earned that right through the (Collective Bargaining Agreement).”
It’s unchartered territory for Dubnyk though, who vividly remembers conversations with friends last year about where he could end up playing.
“I came to Vegas in July of last year with some buddies,” Dubnyk said. “I just remember being on the trip, and every once in a while we’d kind of get talking about where I might be, and what the possibilities are, if I was going to play or what I was going to do really.
There was not a whole lot of teams flying to get me signed at this time last year. And it’s scary to see that close on you that quickly.”
It’s not a situation anyone wants to be in, but as Fletcher said Monday, ultimately, Dubnyk controls his destiny this season.
Fletcher and Dubnyk had an opportunity to meet in Las Vegas Tuesday morning before the league's General Managers' meetings. On Wednesday, the focus shifts to the goaltender's claim on some of the league's top trophies. Fletcher is expected to meet with Dubnyk’s agent, Mike Luit, in Florida before the start of the NHL Entry Draft later this week.