Analyzing Mathew Dumba’s struggles


When the Minnesota Wild drafted Mathew Dumba with the 7th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the plan was to mold him as the defenseman who could take liberties in the offensive zone. The youthful Dumba demonstrated shades of being a galvanizing offensive threat throughout his minor hockey career as a result of dynamic skating talent and heavy shot. While Dumba has exercised the freedom Mike Yeo has provided, the Wild are yet to see any tangible benefits from his tendencies.

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At the ripe age of 20, Dumba is almost playing too fast for his own good. Too often he has bolted into the offensive zone with no real plan other than to create chaos. This has consistently ended in turnovers and odd man rushes in the other direction which makes him a liability on the back-end.

In addition to his struggles on the rush, Mathew Dumba has been victimized as a result of overall poor decision-making. Instead of keeping things simple, he has attempted to force plays that just haven’t been there. A great example was in Montreal a few weeks back when a horrendous offensive zone turnover led to a Brendan Gallagher goal just seconds later.

It can be argued that Kuemper should have stopped the shot, but he never should have been hung out to dry as a result of Dumba’s turnover. Instead of trying to make a fancy play around Alex Galchenyuk, that puck should have been sent deep and away from danger. It’s also worth noting that Yeo benched Dumba for all but one shift during the remainder of the game as a result of that turnover.

So what can the Wild do? My guess is a trip south on the “AHL Expressway” to Iowa is in his near future. The timing seems right given the squad’s blue line is returning to health with Marco Scandella back from illness and Jared Spurgeon playing some of his best hockey off his shoulder issue. Once Jonas Brodin returns from his illness, the Wild will be able to send Dumba down to find his confidence.

When playing his helter-skelter role in the offensive zone, Mathew Dumba could potentially be an offensive catalyst. His issues come when he jumps in without a plan and throws his partner under the bus. Mike Yeo has been firm in saying that this is the way the Wild intends to use Dumba, but he still needs to exhibit more control if he wants to stick around on a blue line that is emerging. With other players such as Scandella and Spurgeon providing the scoring from the back-end, Dumba simply isn’t needed on the big club at this point in the season.