Malmo 2014: It’s Now or Never for Wild D-man Mathew Dumba


June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Mathew Dumba poses for a photo after being selected as the number seven overall draft pick to the Minnesota Wild in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Today marks the start of summer camp for Team Canada’s 2014 World Junior Team. Among the 12 hopefuls on the back end is 2012 7th overall pick Mathew Dumba, a promising youngster that may also have the chance to crack the Wild’s lineup this fall.

Dumba is joined by seven other 2012 draftees, including Matt Finn (Leafs), Michael Matheson (Panthers), Adam Pelech (Islanders), Derrick Pouliot (Penguins), Morgan Severson (Devils) and returning WJC veterans Morgan Rielly (Leafs) and Griffin Reinhart (Islanders). In addition, four 2013 draftees are in the mix, including Darnell Nurse (Oilers), Dillon Heatherington (Blue Jackets), Josh Morrissey (Jets) and Ryan Pulock (Islanders).

Considering there was a reason the Wild made him the newest citizen of the State of Hockey with the 7th overall pick, it’s easy to think the third time is the charm for Dumba after being among the final cuts from Team Canada for the past two tournaments. Not only is he one of the biggest names in the defensive corps, he’s also had incredible success with Team Canada at the U-17 and U-18 tournaments.

In addition to winning bronze with both teams, Dumba was a powerhouse from the blue line, notching 12 assists in six games at the U-17s and notching five goals and seven assists for 12 points in seven games as captain for Team Canada at the U-18s. Between the two tournaments, Dumba racked up award after award, including Most Points (U-17 and U-18), Most Points by a Defenseman (U-17 and U-18), Best Defenseman (U-18), Most Assists (U-18), Most Assists by a Defenseman (U-18), Most Goals by a Defenseman (U-18) and Top-3 Player on Team (U-18).

It appears Elite Prospects is correct when it describes the intriguing young blue liner as:

"A quite spectacular defenseman that combines offensive skills and speed with a strong physical game. Has a cannon of a shot from the blue and puts up points on regular basis. Is an impressive open ice hitter and will be even better with additional muscle mass. Defensive play could use some fine tuning. Has leadership qualities. (EP 2012)"

While he did struggle in Red Deer at the start of last season, a switch in coaching and some renewed confidence seemed to get Dumba back on track as he finished the 2012-13 season with 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points and a plus-10 rating in 62 games. He would also add two goals and two assists for four points and a negative-4 rating in nine playoff games before finishing the season in Houston of the American Hockey League.

This fall, the future Yin to Jonas Brodin’s Yang not only has a chance to make Team Canada, but the Wild, as well. He’ll have to battle against Jonathon Blum, Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser for a spot, but if he deserves to play in the NHL, you can bet the Wild brass will find him a spot. It appears Dumba has everything going for him, but he’ll have to continue to work hard if he’s going to make it in St. Paul, let alone what appears to be another very deep and talented Team Canada squad.