According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, it sounds as if defenseman Matt Dumba will be playing his tenth game of the season for the Minnesota Wild tonight as they face the Carolina Hurricanes. Assuming Dumba does indeed play tonight, it will mean that he is ineligible to be returned to the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League.
This does not necessarily mean that Dumba will not suit up for Canada at the World Juniors this year. The chances of seeing Dumba on Canada, however, are pretty slim. If Dumba were to play in the World Juniors, as Anaheim Ducks winger Devante Smith-Pelly and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Brett Connolly did two years ago, it could provide invaluable experience for him. On the other hand, the Wild would be missing a significant part of their blue line – a part that would seem that much more important if an injury were to happen to another defenseman. If a defenseman that sees powerplay time, such as Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, or Jared Spurgeon, gets hurt, Dumba would be cast into a bigger role.
It will be interesting to see how often Dumba plays, now that he has earned his spot on the Wild roster following his nine-game trial. He has not played in the last four games, but the Wild went 3-0-1 over that span and were taking their time deciding on Dumba’s fate. He brings very good skating, a big right-handed shot, and an aggressive style of play to the table. He does need to be more consistent in his decision-making, as was evidenced by his ninth game of the season. Ups and downs are to be expected with most young defensemen, but if Dumba can play smart hockey and avoid blatant defensive miscues, he could contribute significantly to the Wild’s performance over the course of the season.