Exactly one week ago, TSN’s Darren Dreger said on Insider Trading that teams were showing interest in Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. The 28-year-old rearguard, who has been the subject of trade rumors for a number of seasons now, is in the final year of his contract, which carries a $6 million cap hit. In 42 games this season, he has found the back of the net four times while also registering seven helpers.
Trading Dumba seems puzzling given the Wild’s current status, as they sit third in the Central Division and should be able to remain in or around that position for the remainder of the season. Given their likely playoff berth, it seems odd they would want to sell a player like Dumba ahead of the deadline, though there may be a reason behind it.
Though pure speculation, my colleague Jim Parsons suggested in the latest episode of Oilers Overtime that the Wild could be looking to move Dumba to bring in another high-end defenseman rumored to be on the move, perhaps Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes. If it is indeed the Wild and Bill Guerin’s desire to upgrade their back end, moving Dumba’s cap hit, or at least a good chunk of it, may be crucial. With that said, here are three potential landing spots for the 2012 seventh overall pick.
It has been no secret that the Edmonton Oilers are looking to upgrade their blue line. Despite their high-powered offense, they are a team barely clinging on to a playoff spot but could re-establish themselves as contenders by adding a legitimate top-four defenseman to the mix.
Over the past few months, the Oilers have been linked to several defensemen, such as Joel Edmundson, Vladislav Gurikov, Mattias Ekholm and much more. One who many fans have clamored for is Chychrun, but it appears management isn’t as keen on him. Instead, their newest target may indeed be Dumba, as Dreger said last week that they have reached out to the Wild to see the asking price.
Though most would agree that the Oilers left side of their blue line is slightly weaker than the left, that shouldn’t stop them in their efforts of potentially acquiring Dumba. This is a player who would add an immediate physical presence to the lineup and is capable of success in both ends of the ice. That said, in order to fit his cap in, Holland will need to find a way to get creative.
The other team that Dreger mentioned had reached out to the Wild in regards to their interest in Dumba was the Ottawa Senators. This is a team who possesses a number of offensive weapons but lacks experience on the back end.
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At the time of writing this, the Senators sit eight points shy of the New York Islanders for a wild card position. That said, they also have two games in hand, meaning that if they are able to string together a few wins here, they will be right back in the thick of things. This means that while Pierre Dorion won’t be mortgaging the future for an asset between now and the deadline, he may be willing to acquire a player like Dumba, who would help provide a boost to his team in the late stretch of the season.
While Senators fans will likely remain divided on whether or not to be buyers or sellers come the deadline, their cap situation gives them the option to do whatever management decides. With over $6 million in space, they have the room to acquire Dumba should they choose to do so. While it is by no means a guarantee they grab him, there has clearly been some interest on their part.
Though Guerin does seem adamant that he would be looking to bring in a defenseman if Dumba were to be dealt, there is no denying that his team could really benefit from adding another offensive talent to the mix. One player who could fit the bill perfectly for them is none other than Minnesota native Brock Boeser.
Boeser, 25, has been subject to plenty of trade rumors as of late as a result of the Vancouver Canucks struggles. While he has yet to develop into the truly elite goal scorer many envisioned, he is a player capable of 30 goals in any given season and has an impressive 26 points through 35 games this season. A change of scenery, which seems needed for him at this point, should help improve even further on those totals.
As for the Canucks, Dumba would be a major upgrade on what is a weak blue line. That said, they would need to know for sure he was willing to sign before moving Boeser, but assuming that can be worked out, this could be a swap that proves beneficial for both teams.
Wild Have Stud Defenseman in Pipeline
While moving Dumba may force Dean Evason to get creative with his combinations on the back end for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign, the Wild do have prospects in the pipeline who appear to be NHL-ready. One, in particular, is Brock Faber, who is in his third season with the University of Minnesota and is continuing to get better and better by the day, to the point where many think he will crack the Wilds roster next season. Though he won’t help in 2022-23, perhaps his emergence will make Guerin comfortable enough to move on from Dumba in exchange for a player like Boeser, who still has term left on his deal.
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Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.