It’s no secret that Matt Dumba might get traded this season.
After years and years of his name being involved in trade rumors and reports, a move for the Minnesota Wild defenseman is more realistic than ever, right now. Dumba’s going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and while he has played a pivotal role on this team for the last decade, the Wild won’t want to lose him for nothing.
It will be an emotional departure of one of the team’s leaders, but in the end, we can collectively say “it’s a business” and move on through the transaction.
And while a trade feels likely if the Wild find themselves out of the playoffs before the Marc 3 trade deadline, according to The Athletic’s Pierre Lebrun, a trade could be a possibility even if the team is winning.
“And finally, if the Wild fall out of contention this season, pending UFA blueliner Matt Dumba most likely will be trade bait. He has a 10-team no-trade list. He might be part of trade discussions even if the Wild stay in the playoff race, as part of a hockey trade to augment the Minnesota roster.” — The Athletic
There are strengths and weaknesses of the Wild’s roster, and unfortunately for Dumba, the right side of the blue line is the former. With Jared Spurgeon being omnipresent, Calen Addison full-time production, and prospects like Brock Faber ready to make the immediate jump, Dumba’s presence on the blue line is going to feel like a luxury Minnesota does not need in the near future.
Add in the fact that he has been a disappointment this season, and Dumba might just be already halfway out the door, no matter what.
The idea of a “hockey trade” is an interesting one though. It is typically a player-for-player swap — sometimes with picks and/or prospects included — but it is two regular NHLers getting traded for each other to address those strengths and weaknesses. If we want to play Armchair General Manager for a couple minutes, one particular swap came to my mind almost immediately after I read Lebrun mention a hockey trade.
The Vancouver Canucks are bad but want to be good and have one of the worst blue lines in the entire league, surrounded by one of the most talented players in Quinn Hughes. They traded for Ethan Bear earlier this season, so they want to address that, but what if they part ways with a bigger piece to really solidify their top-four?
Like Dumba, Bo Horvat is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer as well, and with J.T. Miller signed until the end of time, Elias Pettersson existing, and other substantial top-six players like Brock Boeser and Conor Garland there, it seems like his time in Vancouver is limited. Lebrun mentioned in the very same post that if the Canucks continue to lose, that Horvat’s name should be involved in more trade speculation.
Horvat would immediately fix the Wild’s problem of having a top-six center, slot in between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, and be yet another two-way center force that this team wants so badly. With players heading either way, it fixes both of their issues without taking away too much of their strengths.
Now, of course, Horvat is an electrifying player and is off to an incredibly hot start with 16 points in 14 games so far. Dumba alone won’t be enough, but spice it up with a prospect and/or a pick and there should be something cooking there.
This is all speculation, and Dumba might just end up being a contender’s final piece that they give up only future assets for, but there are at least some realistic scenarios where we could see the blueliner on a different team before the end of the season.