The recent contract extensions for Jonas Brodin and Carson Soucy make a Matt Dumba trade inevitable. Where are the possible trade destinations for Dumba?
There is no doubt that Matt Dumba is a hot commodity, the 26-year-old blueliner has surpassed 10 goals in four of the past five seasons. He saw a major reduction in the 2019-20 campaign where he only managed to find the back of the net six times.
Dumba could still be feeling the after-effects of his season-ending pectoral injury that occurred two years ago this December. Before his injury, Dumba led all NHL defenseman in goals by a considerable number.
In 2017-18, Dumba displayed glimpses of what he has in store for the future of his career. He was fantastic and it appeared as though he would become a fixture of the Wild’s defensive core for the future. He followed that up in 2018-19 with what looked like Dumba finally surpassing the threshold and being among the best in the league.
In 2019-20, Dumba’s game diminished in terms of point totals. He recorded 6 goals and18 assists for 24 points in 69 games. That is a huge decline from his previous seasons. Dumba faced elite competition just under 28 percent this season, which was a considerable drop from his 38 percent in 2018-19.
He also saw his shooting plunge considerably. Dumba can be dependent on his shot which is a recipe for disaster when his shooting percentage diminished nearly 9 percent from a year ago. Dumba has been an above-average shooter thus far in his career courtesy of his tantalizing shot.
Dumba has been outperforming his expected goals in past years by a large margin. It is no surprise that this comes mostly from his slapshot, which was a struggle for Dumba this season where he scored fewer goals on his slapshot than expected for only the second time in his career.
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Everyone knows Dumba isn’t defensively sound, and he likely never will be. His M.O is being a fantastic offensive threat every night. His underlying numbers in his own zone haven’t been favorable, but there is potential he can be an offensive threat while still being average defensively, as long as he isn’t sacrificing his play in the defensive zone to make an impact offensively.
Throughout the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, he was actually average defensively while still making offensive contributions. These are the signs that can point to a more improved Dumba in the coming years.
It is all true of Dumba’s shooting percentage significantly dropping, his point totals diminishing and his play in his own zone being poorer than most. However, his offensive contributions were not reflected by his point totals this season, he was actually better than average this season in goals for per hour and expected goals for per hour among defenseman in the league.
Likewise, he also was above average in Corsi which is a shot differential metric. He may have been unlucky and wasn’t able to produce in terms of points, but Dumba was very productive offensively this season.
Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin has been very patient and he hasn’t liked the offers so far that have come his way. Everything points to Dumba staying on the Wild next season. This is the right decision because there is no reason the Wild need to trade him if there isn’t a significant offer.
The only issue is that this will impact the Wild’s position for the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft. If no Dumba trade is made until then, the Wild may be forced to protect four defensemen.
Dumba has immense value given his contract is bearable, he has term, and is a right-shot defenseman.
Finding the former first-round pick a new home is no easy task because there are so many logistics involved in a potential trade. The Wild have to find a team that needs a right-shot defenseman, has the cap to make it work, and has preferably a center to give the Wild in return.
Which destinations could be his new home?
The Arizona Coyotes are a perfect trade partner for the Wild when it involves Dumba. They need a right-shot defenseman with Ekman-Larsson and Chychrun both on the left side. Hjalmarsson, Gologski, and Demers are all in their 30s and are not nearly as effective anymore.
They also have several centers that provide significant value and it just makes sense between these two clubs. Both teams get a player of value and positional need.
Naturally, I feel as though Dumba should be valued higher than Dvorak because he is a hot commodity given his right-shot top-four pairing presence.
Dumba is most likely going to fetch a bigger return than he should for the Wild. Since the point totals don’t display Dvorak’s strong impact and analytics aren’t really factored into trades at this point, the Wild could get away with this one.
Dvorak is a strong two-way top-six center who plays efficiently in all three zones. He is not your stereotypical top-six center that will produce elite numbers in terms of point production or goal scoring.
In my opinion, the impact is far more important than point production which can be the result of a variety of factors. He is a phenomenal offensive player who ranks in the top quarter in the league among forwards in the even-strength offense category.
Likewise, he also ranks in the top quarter in the league in even-strength defense, he is an impact player. He would be a perfect addition because he is the type of center that would be perfect between Kevin Fiala. He is not a strong shooter, so dishing the puck to Fiala would certainly be his strong suit.
He is strong in the faceoff circle too, which is a trait the Wild most certainly lack with the departures of Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal.
He has immense potential and everything points to him being a low-end first-line center. He should be among the biggest targets for the Wild. The 24-year-old center would immediately provide the Wild with much-needed value in a variety of aspects of the game.