ALBANY, NY – A lot of things have been working for the Albany Devils for the first 16 games of the regular season: the power play, penalty kill, rookie scoring or veteran contributions – just to name a few. Yann Danis’ performance could easily sit atop that list.
The 34-year-old is tied for third in the AHL with eight wins, sixth with a 1.98 goals-against average and tied for 10th with a .927 save percentage. His numbers shouldn’t be that surprising. He has played more than 400 career professional games and won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s top goaltender in 2012 while playing for the Oklahoma City Barons.
Things haven’t gone as planned for the Devils or Danis, but that’s okay. Back in September during training camp, it seemed like Scott Wedgewood would be getting more playing time of the two. However, Wedgewood was sidelined with an ankle sprain days before the season opener and the Devils jumped on Danis’ back and are 9-4-3-0 after 16 games – the best start in franchise history.
Danis has played in 14 games so far this year and many times one back-to-back nights.
“It’s just easier to stay in the groove of things,” Danis said. “If you are splitting sometimes you play one game a week or maybe one game every two weeks. It’s hard to stay game ready. Playing a lot of games you have no excuses, you have to be ready.”
So far this season, Danis has two shutouts and just two regulation losses. Last year, he spent time with the Norfolk Admirals before joining the Hartford Wolf Pack and helping them to seven wins in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
As the Devils wind down November and enter December, Wedgewood is getting closer to making his return. On Monday, he skated with the team for the first time since the injury.
However, the combination of Danis’ play and the type of injury, the Devils are taking it slow with Wedgewood.
“We don’t want to rush him,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Just because this has taken a lot longer than we anticipated. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent. He feels comfortable, but he hasn’t been in any type of game situations. Today was the first day where he got some situations in practice that simulate a game. Moving forward he will get more of that.”
Until Wedgewood returns, expect Danis to continue to be the workhorse. Without another three-in-three weekend on the schedule until after the second week in January, Danis could very well be between the pipes for every games until Wedgewood returns.