The Minnesota Wild had the seventh overall pick in this year’s NHL, and unlike last year general manager Chuck Fletcher did not make a major trade to shake things up.
The Wild added to what looks like a good group of young talent in their system by selecting defenseman Mathew Dumba, who has spent the last three seasons playing for the Red Deer (Alberta) Rebels in the Western Hockey League and was considered one of the top defenseman available in this year’s class. He was the captain for Team Canada at the 2012 U-18 World Championships, leading all scorers in the tournament with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) as Canada took home the bronze medal.
Dumba had an excellent offensive season for Red Deer in 2011-12, tallying 57 points (20 goals, 37 assists) in 69 games, and he was also the WHL’s Rookie of the Year for the 2010-11 season as he had 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) and 83 penalty minutes over 62 games that season. He is considered a very good offensive defenseman, in particular his shooting ability, so he seems to be able to bring some juice to a Minnesota back line that has lacked firepower. Dumba also showed a propensity for delivering big hits, so he would bring that element to the Wild as well if he reaches the NHL.
However Dumba will not turn 18 until July 25, so some minor league seasoning looks likely during the 2012-13 season. He is also a bit undersized (6’0″, 180 lbs.), so his physical style may not be able to translate to the NHL level without some refinement as he often gambles on delivering big hits. In any case, the Wild have added a player that brings some upside potential they currently lack on the blue line with many of their young defenseman already on their NHL roster and perhaps having reached their ceiling.