Today we continue the season ending reviews with the spotlight on goaltender Wade Dubielewicz.
It took some time for Ted Nolan to go with Wade Dubielewicz down the stretch late in 2006-07 but when he did he won the coach over and management as he was finally given an one-way contract as a reward for his strong season in Bridgeport and for the Islanders when they needed it most.
At the beginning of 2007-08 Dubie did not see much action but had a solid preseason, when he finally got his first start an exhausted Islander team was traveling and playing it's fifth game in seven nights against Toronto and simply did not give him much help in a bad loss against Toronto where he was not sharp himself.
After that the club played about three games in twenty plus days where again he was put into a bad situtation where an Islander team hung him out to dry in a game against Atlanta where he surrendered four first period goals where he allowed one bad goal late in the first period.
In that Atlanta game their club came at Dubielewicz in waves and did not allow anything after the first period that could have been 8-0 if not for his play.
On Al Arbour night he came in cold half way through the game and was outstanding in the comeback win.
At one point the Isles did get him to Bridgeport for a few games but when the call came he proved he could adapt and not only responded with good play from a backup but did not look at of place against any club.
When DiPietro did miss some games with mild injuries or knocks after that Dubielewicz played above and beyond what you expect from a backup goaltender with several outstanding efforts, his forty shot win against Carolina was typical of most of his work in the second half, he defeated the Rangers twice in the garden, gave his team a chance to win in almost all of his stretch starts after DiPietro shut down his season. No goalie is going to win without scoring support, Dubie did all he could and more and looked as good as most full time starters in this league.
In truth Dubielewicz looked like he could start for many teams in this league. As
much as the club needs Rick DiPietro's world class abilities, Wade Dubielewicz was outstanding most games when he got the call.
Here we are in late May Joey MacDonald is signed to a one-way deal, Ridderwall's status will be decided in a few days and Dubie hits the open market on July 1st while DiPietro recovers from his second hip surgery. Seems to me if the Islanders wanted Dubie back something would have been done. The goaltenders comments have usually been he does not want to prove himself somewhere else and would like to stay.
Do the Isles gamble and give the backup role to MacDonald who has NHL experience and a few solid late season efforts or Dubie who looks like he could step in and start if necessary?
I have written several times the Islander fan in me wants him to stay but the NHL fan wants to see him start for someone. From day one this year I felt he would do a good job here, he lived up to my expectations and no doubt the Islanders are stronger with him.
He could not outright steal games on the lowest scoring club in the league but he was ready when the call came for him to do the job without playing which was something we were not sure he could do after such a big workload in Bridgeport, he did his job and gave his team every chance to win.
Dubielewicz gets an A and a contract extension if it's my decision. He would easily start in Toronto/Los Angeles and vastly upgrade the current state of their goaltending.