Wild Bolsters Blue Line With Dumba
The Wild picks defenseman Matt Dumba seventh overall in the NHL Entry Draft
For the second straight summer, the Minnesota Wild selected a defenseman with its first round pick in the NHL Entry Draft. With the seventh overall pick, the Wild chose Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
If last year’s first rounder, Jonas Brodin, is known more for his finesse play, Dumba is known around Western Canada as a physical force. Listed at six feet tall and 183-pounds, Dumba plays with the physicality of much larger defenseman. He patrols the blue line with an edge, cutting down any player that attempts to cross into the middle of the ice.
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“I’m a versatile defenseman and like to play on both sides of the puck,” Dumba said about his style of play. “I like to hit and I like to join in the offense."
Along with a pension for the physical play, the right-handed blueliner posses a big-time shot from the point, a skill set coveted on an NHL blue line. He led all WHL defensemen in scoring with 20 goals and totaled 57 points (20-37=57) in 69 games. His nine power-play goals led the Rebels on the man advantage.
“Matt is an exciting, young, right shot defenseman with an excellent combination of skill, mobility and physicality,” Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said. “He's been a leader and point producer everywhere he's been.”
The 17 year old is known as a highly competitive player, and, despite his young age, a leader in the locker room. At the 2012 Under-18 World Championships, Dumba captained Team Canada to a Bronze Medal. In the tourney, he recorded a tournament-best 12 points (5-7=12) in seven games and was named the Best Defenseman.
Skating in his first season of junior hockey 2010-11, Dumba, was named the WHL's Rookie of the Year, leading the Rebels in rookie scoring with 26 points (15-11=26). His goal total was tops amongst first year defenders, and seventh overall in the league.
In a first round that was top heavy with defenseman, Dumba was the fifth defenseman selected. Eight of the top 10 first round picks in the draft were blueliners.
“I’m so thankful for the Minnesota Wild, the opportunity they are giving me, and their faith in choosing me in the first round,” Dumba said.
Dumba is no stranger to the Sate of Hockey. At the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Dumba was in attendance when the Wild selected Brodin in the first round.
“It’s a hockey state, right by the border in Canada,” Dumba acknowledged. “This opportunity is so amazing and I look to embrace it.”
“I love St. Paul,” Dumba said with a smile that ran from ear to ear. “It’s a great city and a great state, and I’m so thrilled to be there. It’s a world-class organization.”
It was a dream day for Dumba at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, one he will never forget: “I’m so happy right now. It’s hard to explain.”