First-round pick Dumba makes roster for Wild opener

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSOMRUSSO@STARTRIBUNE.COM
  • Updated: January 17, 2013 - 9:23 PM
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Matthew Dumba, center, a defenseman, smiles with officials from the Wild after being chosen seventh overall in the first round of the 2012 NHL draft.

Photo: Keith Srakocic, Associated Press

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As a sweaty Matt Dumba walked over to his locker after Thursday's Wild practice, stall neighbor Josh Harding said with a wink, "You still here, Dums?"

The 18-year-old defenseman was all smiles after the Wild made a series of moves to get down to an opening-night roster that must be submitted to the NHL at 2 p.m. Friday.

Dumba will be on that roster, quite the achievement for a 2012 first-round pick who has grown steadily during the weeklong training camp.

But he also knows that his status literally is day-to-day.

"I got to stay another day, so that's awesome," Dumba said. "It's pretty crazy. These last five days have gone by so quick for me. It's an awesome feeling to be here right now."

It's uncertain how long Dumba will stay or if he'll debut against Colorado on Saturday.

With Steve Kampfer reassigned to Houston, Dumba is the only extra defenseman as the Wild bides time for Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella to get healthy. Tom Gilbert missed Thursday's practice with a sore groin, but he is expected to practice Friday and play Saturday.

"There's no guarantees for anything except the next couple days," coach Mike Yeo said.

Dumba, who could still eventually end up back with Red Deer of the Western Hockey League, can play up to five games without the first year of his contract counting.

"He's earned the right to stay, but you normally want to be careful with 18-year-olds," GM Chuck Fletcher said. "We'd be comfortable having him play games, but ultimately the best course is probably for him to go back to Red Deer.

"So we'll take it on a day-to-day basis. Every day he's gotten better. If it's too fast or he can't keep up, we'll monitor the situation and do what's right for Matt."

Three players cut

The Wild got down to 22 players after placing Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux and Jake Dowell on waivers Thursday. If the players clear at 11 a.m. Friday, they will be reassigned to Houston.

Initially, the Wild is keeping 13 forwards. Matt Kassian is the lone extra.

Yeo called it an "extremely tough decision," but the Wild needed to get down to the group of players who will play immediately. He also feels Kassian's presence whenever in the lineup will "protect" skilled players such as Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise.

Scandella healing

Scandella continues to skate in an effort to return from a groin injury. He bused to Chicago with the Aeros on Thursday.

Brodin, who underwent surgery on a broken clavicle in November, practiced with the Wild on Thursday. He looked outstanding. Ideally, the Wild would want to get him a few games in Houston before his NHL debut, but Fletcher said, "He's much closer to playing than Marco."

Etc.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been cleared to return from last year's season-ending concussion and was activated off injured reserve Thursday.

•Yeo said Gilbert's groin injury is minor. But because of the condensed schedule this season, the Wild coach said, any time a player is in danger of further injuring himself by practicing, the Wild will keep him off the ice. "Rest and prevention is key," Yeo said.

•The Wild's Jan. 27 game at St. Louis has been changed to 7 p.m. to accommodate the NBC Sports Network.

•Former Wild forward Chuck Kobasew (ill) isn't expected to travel to Minnesota with Colorado for Saturday's opener.

•Aeros forward Jason Zucker was picked for the AHL All-Star Game on Jan. 27 in Providence, R.I.

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