Wild adopts defensive posture with Mathew Dumba

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 23, 2012 - 12:57 PM

The Wild took hard-hitting blueliner Mathew Dumba with the seventh overall selection in the NHL entry draft.


Matthew Dumba, center, a defenseman, smiled with officials from the Wild after being chosen seventh overall in the first round of the NHL hockey draft Frida in Pittsburgh.

Photo: Keith Srakocic, Associated Press

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PITTSBURGH - His hits are bone- jarring, his shot lights-out and his thoroughbred mentality is said to be special.

Mathew Dumba might be only 17, but there's a reason the Wild passed over a few enticing forwards Friday night to snatch the Red Deer Rebels defenseman with the seventh overall pick in the NHL draft: His bag of tricks could be overflowing with goodies.

"He's a game-changer," said Peter Loubardias, a Canadian TV analyst who scouts for Red Deer. "He can do it all, and at the end of the day, you've got a passionate, caring, want-to-be-the-best, wants-to-win-at-all-costs guy. He's got a heart as big as a bathtub."

For a Wild team that reinvented its blue line the past year by trading Brent Burns, Nick Schultz, Marek Zidlicky and Greg Zanon, lassoing Dumba was too good an opportunity to pass up -- even though skilled forwards Filip Forsberg, Mikhail Grigorenko and Teuvo Teravainen fell into its wheelhouse.

The Wild has six forward prospects turning pro next season, yet Jonas Brodin, the 10th pick in last year's draft, is considered the Wild's only blue-chip defenseman on the way.

Dumba knew this. So when the Wild brass walked to the podium early Friday evening, he sat back and prayed to hear his name. And when he did, it was like "nothing I've ever felt before," he said. "Just this overwhelming chill throughout my whole body."

Dumba immediately hugged his very giddy mother, Treena; father and former coach, Charlie; and 14-year-old brother, Kyle, who hopes to be experiencing the same feeling in four years.

"This is Mathew's shining moment," Treena said, proudly.

One year after being named the Western Hockey League Rookie of the Year following a 15-goal campaign, Dumba scored 20 goals -- the most by a Rebels defenseman since Dion Phaneuf in 2004-05 -- nine power-play goals and 57 points in 69 games while playing 30 minutes a game many nights.

Dumba was captain for Team Canada at the 2012 Under-18 world championship, helping lead the country to a bronze. He was named best defenseman of the tournament after being the first defenseman to ever lead the tournament in scoring. He also captained Canada to gold at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial. In that tournament, he went head-to-head against Grigorenko and Forsberg. Neither got a point.

"It's hard to find skilled right-shot defensemen, and to find somebody that shoots the puck that hard, skates that well and has a physical edge, it's a rare package," Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said.

Added assistant GM Brent Flahr: "He plays with a lot of passion. I think our fans will be able to identify with him very well."

Dumba, despite standing 5-11¾, has a reputation for the open-ice hit.

"This kid annihilates people. He's one of those low-center-of-gravity kids that finds a way to go through people," said Grant Sonier, a longtime scout who writes for ESPN.com and who compares Dumba to the Kings' Drew Doughty -- coincidentally, Dumba's idol.

Dumba, whose mom is of Filipino descent and dad of Romanian/German, learned the "skill" from his dad and "it blossomed."

"When he was in peewee, he mastered the art of hitting," Treena said. "Charlie talked to him about timing and knowing when to step into somebody."

Added Charlie, "I tell the boys they've got be 100 percent ready, but never look like they're ready."

The one knock on Dumba is he tries to do too much, but Dumba said he is learning to channel "it in the right direction."

Flahr said the Wild will have to rein him in a bit and teach him defensive nuances, but the physicality, "I'm not sure ... we want that to come out of his game. That's what makes him what he is."

For a year, the running joke inside the Dumba family was that Mathew would be drafted by the Wild. Years ago, they visited Calgary, loved it and moved there. Later, they visited Red Deer, loved it and Dumba was drafted there.

Last June, the family came to St. Paul for the 2011 draft so Dumba could learn what to expect.

"I said, 'I love this city. I want you to be drafted by Minnesota,' " Treena said. "That was the running joke all year, and now he's there. Isn't that amazing?"

Eight defensemen were taken in the first 10 picks at Friday's draft -- the most ever -- including Dumba's friends Griffin Reinhart (fourth to the Islanders), Morgan Rielly (fifth to Toronto) and Derrick Pouliot (eighth to Pittsburgh). The same four went consecutively in the 2009 WHL bantam draft.

"They're all defensemen and they all want to be the best," Charlie said.

The Wild tried to trade for another first-rounder, but the price was too high and most teams wanted to select. But the Wild was delighted with landing Dumba.

While it is hard to imagine Dumba stepping in right away, the Wild brass said he will be given every chance.

"I want to make an impact as soon as possible, but it all comes down to what they think," Dumba said. "I'm going to be training all summer so I can prove to them that they made the right choice."


    Day 2: Rounds 2-7 • 9 a.m. today • TV: NHL Network

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Buffalo 17 3rd Qtr 4:56
New England 6
Cleveland 3 3rd Qtr 6:52
Baltimore 3
Dallas 27 3rd Qtr 9:40
Washington 10
Indianapolis 17 3rd Qtr 12:35
Tennessee 7
Jacksonville 10 3rd Qtr 9:53
Houston 14
San Diego 7 3rd Qtr 9:35
Kansas City 16
NY Jets 21 3rd Qtr 11:35
Miami 24
Chicago 6 3rd Qtr 6:55
Minnesota 10
Philadelphia 17 3rd Qtr 13:33
NY Giants 16
New Orleans 7 3rd Qtr 6:30
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 3:25 PM
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Green Bay
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Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
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TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
Detroit 3:30 PM
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
New York 8:00 PM
Toronto 8:00 PM
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4:00 PM
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 41 2nd Half 3:51
Connecticut 75
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 28 2nd Half
Arizona State 32
Longwood 22 2nd Half
Ball State 28
Sacred Heart 37 2nd Half
Brown 40
Colgate 33 2nd Half
Columbia 31
MD-Eastern Shore 45 2nd Half
Duquesne 38
UNC Greensboro 26 2nd Half
East Carolina 45
Marist 18 2nd Half
Elon 34
NJIT 31 2nd Half
Lafayette 33
Cincinnati Christian 23 2nd Half
Liberty 34
Morgan State 17 2nd Half
Marquette 37
Campbell 23 2nd Half
Samford 28
Bucknell 38 2nd Half
Siena 35
Long Beach State 33 1st Half 2:29
Syracuse 37
Coppin State 33 2nd Half
Evansville 45
UMKC 29 2nd Half
Indiana State 29
Hofstra 22 1st Half 8:55
Long Island 13
Coast Guard 2:00 PM
Thomas (GA) 2:00 PM
High Point
Texas Southern 2:00 PM
Kansas State
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NC Wesleyan 2:00 PM
South Dakota St 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
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SE Missouri St
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SIU Edwardsville
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North Dakota St
Milwaukee 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 2:30 PM
Saint Peters 3:00 PM
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Lehigh 4:00 PM
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Belmont 5:00 PM
Howard 5:00 PM
NW Christian 5:00 PM
UC Davis 5:00 PM
Washington St
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Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Buffalo 7:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
(10) Oregon State 63 2nd Half 1:06
(8) Tennessee 70
Florida A&M 46 2nd Half 0:40
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 2nd Half 0:15
Central Michigan 72
St Francis-PA 31 2nd Half
Pittsburgh 46
Milwaukee 37 2nd Half
IUPU-Ft Wayne 35
Gardner-Webb 28 2nd Half
Longwood 28
New Hampshire 16 2nd Half
Manhattan 29
Bucknell 36 2nd Half
Binghamton 34
Northeastern 31 2nd Half
Albany 27
George Mason 21 2nd Half
Towson 33
Richmond 25 2nd Half
William & Mary 37
Tulane 32 2nd Half
Cincinnati 20
North Florida 30 2nd Half
Florida 34
(14) Georgia 25 2nd Half
Seton Hall 33
Tennessee St 35 1st Half 0:03
(12) Kentucky 47
American Univ 28 2nd Half
Wake Forest 44
Massachusetts 44 1st Half 1:14
Boston U 30
Quinnipiac 34 1st Half 0:47
Saint Josephs 32
Lafayette 21 2nd Half
Saint Peters 16
Northwestern 29 2nd Half
(20) Michigan State 22
Duquesne 37 2nd Half
Lehigh 35
George Washington 37 2nd Half
Loyola-Maryland 22
(17) Rutgers 26 1st Half 1:12
Indiana 24
(24) Green Bay 25 1st Half 7:16
Dayton 20
Western Mich 4 1st Half 16:08
Stony Brook 6
Davidson 15 1st Half 8:40
Virginia 22
UNC Greensboro 2:00 PM
Denver 2:00 PM
North Texas
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Coppin State
Huston-Tillotson 2:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Lamar 2:00 PM
Miss Valley St 2:00 PM
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Eastern Illinois
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Tenn Tech
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(23) Iowa
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DePaul 2:05 PM
Illinois State
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Wichita State
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TX-San Antonio
(4) Notre Dame 3:00 PM
Coll of Charleston 3:00 PM
SC State
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Texas-El Paso
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Colgate 3:00 PM
Michigan 3:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Yale 3:30 PM
(25) Arizona State
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Long Island 4:00 PM
Long Beach St
Jackson State 4:00 PM
Eureka 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
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