We’ve reached that point in the season where players must be sent back to junior, or risk burning a year off of their entry-level contract, for most teams. We haven’t quite reached that point in regard to the Minnesota Wild and their young defenseman, Mathew Dumba.
Before Dumba takes the ice for his next game, the Wild will have to make a decision as to whether or not they’ll keep him around and burn that year off of his ELC, or send him back down to junior, where he’ll re-join the Red Deer Rebels. At this point, neither one appears to be a lock.
Dumba saw an increased opportunity with an injury to Jonas Brodin, but at the same time, he’s failed to show the Wild that he’s developed into that impact defenseman just yet. He may very well be there before long, but the Wild may opt to give him another year with Red Deer.
It’s not that Dumba hasn’t played well. He’s actually showed flashes of why the Wild look at him as a potential franchise defenseman. He has a couple of points, and was a minus-2, in the nine games. He was at even strength before the Wild’s 5-1 drubbing that they received at the hands of Chicago on Monday.
Dumba had more than one miscue in that game, and has been prone to the occasional flub in his own end. Nonetheless, the Wild aren’t exactly loaded with defenseman, and at least one injury could have them regretting sending him back to Red Deer, if that’s what they choose to do.
Considering the fact that his only really noticeably bad game was one in which the Wild were dominated as a team, his chances are likely the same as they were prior to the ninth game. But one has to wonder if the Wild will get him in the type of role that would make it worth it, or if they’ll send him back to junior for the sake of his development. We’ll know very soon. Stay tuned.