Is Matthew Dumba’s Invite To Minnesota Wild Camp Protocol or Legit?

The Minnesota Wild have invited their 2012  first round draft pick, Matthew Dumba to training camp according to GM, Chuck Fletcher.  The 18-year old who is currently playing for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, will leave his junior teammates in hopes of finding a new home in the Twin Cities.  But is his invite merely protocol or does he have a legit shot at making the club?

Michael Russo of the Star Tribune expects Dumba to arrive in town by Friday with camp set to open sometime between Saturday and Monday.  Russo describes Dumba as a hard-hitting defenceman who has an upside in the offensive zone.  Currently with Red Deer, Dumba has 10 goals and 23 points in 41 games.  Last season he registered 57 points in 69 games.

Recently Dumba was dealt a blow when he was cut from Team Canada’s junior squad.  We examined his chances of making the club and granted this was a tough year for an 18-year old to make the team given the NHL talent that was available, Dumba was the final cut despite being a highly sought after d-man.

Interestingly enough, one reader of Gone Puck Wild was kind enough to share his inside scoop on Dumba after watching him play in Red Deer for the past couple seasons.  The reader was quick to point out that this season, Dumba has been a disappointment and wonders if the bright lights of the NHL draft have him blindsided by what his priorities are this season.

Russo also writes about the slow start for Dumba but quickly notes that he’s turned it around since the Rebels made an assistant coaching change, which makes you wonder if his attitude got in the way prior to the change.

Given the nature of the Wild’s depleted blueline, Dumba has a legitimate shot at sticking with the club after training camp breaks, even if it’s for the nine games he’s allowed before the Wild can send him back to junior or keep him for the year.  Of course his play in the brief training camp will be the main evaluation process but look for him to stick around for the first few games of the regular season.  Fear of injuries will be top of mind for all NHL clubs and having extra bodies around to help alleviate the top defenceman from logging too much ice time will surely be a play the Wild will consider.

Any other year Dumba would be invited to camp and would spend a considerable amount of time with the Wild organization.  But with a shortened camp the invite appears to be something more than just standard protocol; Dumba may have a legitimate shot at sticking with the Wild, at least for a little while.

Russo also notes that the Wild have set no limits with Dumba meaning he could do what so few 18-year olds have done and that is make the NHL the year after the draft.  Will he defy the odds and the critics?  Time will tell for Matthew Dumba and the Minnesota Wild.


Tags: Matthew Dumba Minnesota Wild

  • disqus_wlYkDuMeRQ

    This site came up as I searched for news on Mat Dumba being invited
    to Wild training camp; I am the reader who left the comment regarding
    Dumba’s recent play with the Rebels.

    Since returning from selection camp (you may be interested to know that Brent Sutter said he was not surprised that Dumba was cut, and that he and the staff need to work closely with him to get his game to “get his game to where it’s
    acceptable not just to ourselves and him but also where it’s acceptable
    to Minnesota”), Dumba has actually had a couple big games – two goals in a big road win against one of the CHL’s best (Edmonton Oil Kings) and he had a shorthanded gamewinner the other day against Moose Jaw that was just… an unreal effort. One of those plays where he looks like he’s capable of playing, like he’s on another level from anyone else on the ice with him.

    Even with that said, though, and even if Dumba had been performing at peak level up to this point, there is just no way he’s ready to play in the NHL. All else aside, he’s still growing into his body and is quite simply not solid enough to be an effective NHL d-man. He would get run over by the majority of pro forwards. He would be getting the worst of the big hits he likes to lay. Furthermore, there is just no way that his skillset has progressed to a level where it would be effective in the National Hockey League.

    He may have a great camp, but I’m certain the decision to send him back to junior won’t be a difficult one for the Wild staff.

    • Derek Stykalo

      Again, thanks for the comments and the great insight. I would have given you full credit in the post but for some reason your name on your comments is scrambled.

      Sutter’s comments sound like Sutter and sounds like maybe Dumba need a reality check – being cut from Team Canada. I agree he’s not ready to jump the bigs and his invite now sounds more like the standard protocol for young draft picks to come and get the experience. Given the shortage of Wild defenceman there has been talk about whether Dumba should be invited. I always say, it can’t hurt to have him compete in camp so he knows what level he needs to be at to crack the lineup. At 18, you’re right, he’s not ready, not many kids are, especially on the blue line.

      Do you think the Wild will give him the now 6 game max? I don’t given the shortened season and how every game is a must win. can’t afford to have a kid make a costly mistake that costs the club two points.

      As always, thanks for reading.

      • disqus_wlYkDuMeRQ

        Honestly, even with an 82-game schedule, I don’t think he would stick around after training camp; his biggest hindrance right now is simply that he’s still in a kid’s body. Not only that, but asking an 18-year-old defenseman to even play 5-10 minutes a night is a huge request. You can hide miscues by forwards easier than a defenseman, which is the reason most young defenders aren’t ready until they are in their twenties.

        In addition, and this is just my opinion – it could be completely unfounded – with all the setbacks Dumba has experienced this year, I think the possibility of him being humbled further at the NHL level would only serve as another chip in his confidence and development. I mean, he has struggled at many points this year against WHL competition; he’s not ready to play even at the AHL level IMO, never mind the pro level, and to throw him in there, even with the understanding that he’s heading back to Red Deer after the ten games regardless of how he plays, would probably do more harm than good for both Minnesota as a hockey club and Dumba as a player.