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Wild first-rounder Dumba cracks opening night roster

Jan 18, 2013, 10:42 AM EDT

dumba2getty Getty Images

After an impressive training camp, Matt Dumba is sticking with the Wild.

That’s the story out of Minnesota on Friday, as the Pioneer Press reports the 18-year-old defenseman — taken seventh overall at the 2012 Entry Draft — will open the year in the NHL and could make his debut on Saturday when the Wild host the Colorado Avalanche.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Dumba said. “It’s an awesome feeling to be here right now.”

The Wild will have five games to decide if Dumba will play out the year in the NHL, or be returned to his junior club in WHL Red Deer. The window for junior-eligible players is usually nine games, but has been reduced this year on account of the shortened schedule.

With defenseman Tom Gilbert nursing a groin injury, Dumba could play on Saturday, though it’s more likely he’ll stick around as the spare until the club’s other injured defensemen — Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin — are ready to return.

As it stands, Minnesota’s projected defensive pairings for Saturday look like this:

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon
Clayton StonerTom Gilbert
Justin FalkNate Prosser

That said, Wild head coach Mike Yeo said nothing’s set in stone and that Dumba’s earned the right to open the year in the NHL.

“He’s earned it,” Yeo said. “He’s been really good up to this point. There’s no guarantees for anything except the next couple days.

“We definitely want to have a chance to, No. 1, reward him, and No. 2, watch him play a little bit more.”

  1. jaybird22seven - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    This kid shouldn’t have been cut from the Canadian junior team.

  2. valoisvipers - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Should be a good time for the fans of the Wild this year.

  3. nvandy42 - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Saw him play in the scrimmage the other night and he looked like a beast out there. Physical, smooth skating, and ripped a couple of blistering one timers. Wont stick past 5 days, but I’m excited about his potential and I’m sure we’ll see him next season. A Brodin, Dumba pairing? I like the sound of that

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 18, 2013 at 11:54 AM

      I hope he only sticks around for 5 games. Don’t get me wrong, I liked what I saw the other night, but I thought Fletcher was going to be the anti-Risebrough and not just give roster spots to young players. I like his potential though

  4. btwicey - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Love it when pro teams give kids with upside a shot, even if just for 5 – this can’t hurt.

  5. btwicey - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Let him learn from the older heads, let him ask q’z , watch and listen, he will mature quickly

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