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Looking to make the leap: Mathew Dumba

Aug 13, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Matthew Dumba Getty Images

If you’ve paid attention to the Minnesota Wild at all the past couple of seasons, chances are you’ve already heard about defenseman Mathew Dumba.

Dumba was the Wild’s first-round pick in 2012, seventh overall, out of Red Deer and was selected in hopes of becoming an eventual stud on a Minnesota blue line that desperately needed one. Now two years later, the Wild have Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin leading the way, and Dumba has gotten a taste of what the NHL is like after playing 13 games last season before being sent back to juniors.

Now that he’s grown up, his time in junior hockey is at an end. In 26 games with the Portland Winterhawks last season, he had 24 points. He added another 18 points in 21 playoff games and showed that not only was his defensive game strong, but his ability to generate offense was as well.

That kind of development is what the Wild are hoping will turn him into a regular on the Minnesota blue line right away. Outside of Suter and Brodin, the rest of the defense leaves the door open for Dumba to jump in.

Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, and Keith Ballard make up what will likely be part of the next three spots. That leaves Dumba, Jonathon Blum, Stu Bickel and rookie Christian Folin to compete for the other starting spot, as well as the reserves.

As it is, Ballard and Blum bounced in and out of the lineup last season with Blum going between the AHL and NHL regularly. Bickel spent all of last season in the AHL and Folin is fresh out of UMass-Lowell in Hockey East.

If nothing else, the opportunity is there for Dumba to seize the day and make the team right out of training camp. At 20 years old, it may be daunting for the Wild to add another young guy to the blue line, but if his skills are up to it and his development won’t suffer – it may be his time to shine.

  1. govtminion - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    I hope he makes it. I’m not a huge Wild fan, but I laugh every time I see that jersey of his, looking forward to seeing it more this season with the big club.

  2. guitarhunterdude - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    I think Dumba’s got an outside shot at making the team to start the year, but he’ll probably spend most of the season in Iowa. He should’ve been there last year, and he’ll still need some defensive improvement before he’s NHL-ready.

    His combination of offensive and physical skillsets excite me more than just about any other blueline prospect out there right now, though. If his skating is good enough for those to translate to the NHL (he’s a very good skater, but he’ll have to be really, really good for that to happen) he’s going to be a force within three or four years. Even if he’s not Subban 2.0, I could see him being a good option next to Suter in a few years. Their skillsets offset each other perfectly. Brodin (as of now, anyway) doesn’t produce enough offense to be getting top-pair minutes, especially next to a guy who’s also not a big-time scorer in Suter.

    • fightingwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      How can you say Dumba should have been in the AHL last year? He was not eligible plain & simple due the the Collective Bargaining agreement the Players association & the NHL have. If he is playing in the CHL he cannot play in the AHL until age 20. Stupid rule in my opinion.

      • lordfletcher - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        Can’t speak for him but maybe that was exactly his point. The rule is dumb and Dumba should have been in Iowa last year but rules are rules

        I don’t think Dumba should start the season w the Wild unless he dominates. I’d like to see him getting top 4 minutes in Iowa and top pairing PP experience.

      • guitarhunterdude - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:21 PM

        Yep, that was my point. He was too good for juniors but wasn’t ready for full-time NHL duty; a year in the AHL was what he needed. Because of the agreement, his development has been set back a year.

      • guitarisgood4u - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:30 AM

        I agree, guitar.

  3. entitymn - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Am I remembering this correctly? Weren’t we all perplexed at why they would play him in 13 games when that was the exact minimum that would trigger a year on his contract?

    • ThatGuy - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      The exact minimum is 10 games.

  4. wutangwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    the whole CHL rule of not playing in the AHL til you’re 20 is stupid. I get why they do it, but I think it can significantly hamper a player’s progress. Dumba was a man amongst boys in minors last year but a boy amongst men during his brief stint in the NHL. Let him play in the AHL for most of the year, I think Folin and/or Olofsson are more ready at this point to be on the third pairing with Blum or *cringe* Ballard.

    • 19to77 - Aug 13, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Agreed. The Swedes let younger kids into the Elitserien, the Finns do the same with the Liiga and 17-year olds can make the KHL.How many young hotshot prospects do you see tearing through the minor leagues like a hot knife through butter when they’re 18 or 19 simply because there’s nothing else for them to do? Those guys would have a chance to play against older, more experienced competition and LEARN something. The AHL’s a rougher game than the minors, sure, but so’s the big league. Gotta learn sometime.

  5. purpleguy - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    I suspect Dumba will get pretty familiar with 35W between MN and Iowa this next season.

    • wutangwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      Yep. He and Zucker should probably plan a carpool.

  6. rsmaggiemae - Aug 13, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    I dont think he is ready to play in the NHL full time yet, not enough experience
    but his day will come… he just needs time, dont rush him
    I would hope the Wild will give Bickel a chance and Folin also
    big guys just need more experience also, but Bickel did play for the Rangers, not much due to injusry but he has experience…

  7. jhnyr45 - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    HAHAHAHA Bickel is awful… if Dumba doesnt make the roster and Bickel does I would seriously question what management and Yeo is doing

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